Drunk driver makes plea deal in fatal crash
By ERIC FRANCIS
CORRESPONDENT | May 01,2013
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The drunk teenager who hit a pair of Texas women head-on in front of the Sharon fire station in October 2011, killing one and leaving the other handicapped for life, reached a plea agreement Tuesday.
Carlos Garcia, now 20, who had moved from California to Sharon just a few months before the fatal crash, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of drunken driving, first offense, with death and serious injury resulting.
A witness to the accident on October 13, 2011, told investigators that Garcia’s green Volkswagen had been passing cars at 60 mph and weaving across the road before it struck a car in the opposite lane without putting on its brake lights.
The collision destroyed both cars, sending the VW flying over an embankment and the other car into a granite monument and flag pole in front of the fire station.
Police said the impact killed the oncoming car’s front-seat passenger, Zyra Flores, 53, of San Antonio, Texas. The driver, a Texas judge named Karen Crouch, 51 at the time, suffered serious leg injuries.
The women had been attending a conference at the Vermont Law School in nearby South Royalton.
Police said Garcia’s blood-alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit for driving. He has been in jail awaiting trial on six felony counts.
With the pair of guilty pleas and four felony counts dropped, the court is awaiting the results of a pre-sentencing investigation. Sentencing will take place later this year.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, the judge could impose up to 15 years in prison. But prosecutors have already agreed they will argue for 10 years, while the defense can argue for less.
Deputy State’s Attorney David Cahill told the court that Crouch will travel from Texas to give a victim’s impact statement on behalf of herself and her dead friend.