Judge grants Sharon man an extension in DUI fatal
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | April 24,2013
JENNIFER HAUCK / VALLEY NEWS PHOTO
In Windsor District Court in White River Junction Carlos Garcia talks with his attorney Sandra Nelson. Garcia was scheduled for a plea agreement Tuesday, but the judge granted more time.
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — There is still no plea agreement in a fatal DUI case that has been lingering in the courts for more than a year.
Judge Robert Gerety granted more time to Carlos Garcia, 20, of Sharon on Tuesday in criminal court in White River Junction per the request of his lawyer, Sandra Nelson.
Nelson said her client was “not ready to proceed” because he was dealing with “emotional issues.” She said obtaining Garcia’s personal records from the state of California has been difficult. Nelson said the records are vital if Garcia will accept a plea agreement.
“We are not trying to drag things out. We want to paint an accurate picture of him at the sentencing,” Nelson said.
Deputy State’s Attorney David Cahill countered that the defense had ample time to obtain Garcia’s records and that the state was ready to offer a plea agreement.
Garcia is charged with six felonies for driving under the influence, injuring the driver Karen Crouch, 51, and killing her friend Zyra Flores, 53. Crouch and Flores are from San Antonio. The charges are refusing a test after a fatal crash, DUI in a fatal accident, driving under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol, gross negligence resulting in death, DUI causing bodily injury and gross negligence causing bodily injury.
Each charge carries up to 15 years in prison and Garcia faces up to $65,000 in fines on all counts. Garcia pleaded innocent on Oct. 14, 2011.
According to police reports, Garcia was traveling north on Route 14 in Sharon on Oct. 13, 2011. He crossed into the southbound lane to pass another vehicle and collided with Crouch’s car.
In an affidavit, state trooper Christopher Blais said he found an open container of alcohol and the prescription drug Hydroxyzine HCL in Garcia’s vehicle. Blais also smelled “the strong odor of intoxicants” emanating from his car. He obtained a warrant for a blood test and Garcia’s blood alcohol content was 0.273 percent. Paramedics also informed Blais they saw scarring on Garcia’s veins which is commonly found in intravenous drug use, according to the affidavit.
Garcia had been living in Sharon for a brief period of time when the fatal crash occurred. He also lived in California and Arizona, according to court records.