Carlos Garcia, 20, who briefly lived in Sharon before his involvement in a fatal head-on collision in front of the Sharon fire station a year-and-a-half ago, reached a plea agreement with the state this week in which he pled guilty to two felony counts of drunk driving with death and serious injury resulting. Garcia was 19 and a recent arrival from California when he drove off down Route 14 early on the evening of October 13, 2011 and began passing cars at 60 mph according to a witness who said there were no brake lights visible as Garcia swerved across lanes and finally smashed straight into an on-coming car. The impact sent the Bug off an embankment on the west side of the road, breaking Garcia’s hip, and the other car rebounded 50 yards to the north, coming to a stop when it hit the granite monument and flag pole in front of the fire station. The driver of the other car, Judge Karen Crouch of Texas, suffered back and leg injuries that affect her ability to walk to this day and her passenger, 53-year-old Zyra Flores of San Antonio, died as a result of the crash. The women had been attending a legal training session at the Vermont Law School in nearby South Royalton. Paramedics treating Garcia that evening observed heavy “needle tracks” on his arms that they said were indicative of intravenous drug abuse and a blood sample taken at the hospital showed that Garcia still had a 0.273 percent blood alcohol level hours after the crash. The plea deal struck this week saw the state drop four of the six original felony counts against Garcia. At a sentencing hearing sometime later this year the state will argue that Garcia should serve 10 years in jail with additional time on probation to follow and the defense will be allowed to argue for less time. Judge Crouch is expected to travel from Texas back to Vermont to deliver a victim’s impact statement on behalf of herself and her deceased friend.
(This story was first published in the May 2, 2013 edition of the Vermont Standard.)
To subscribe to an electronic edition of the Vermont Standard and get your local news every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. click here. – Only $25/year