Fatal DUI driver was fleeing another wreck?

March 12, 2002|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

The driver of a car that rolled on a county road Saturday, killing a 15-year-old girl, was fleeing another vehicle that he had reportedly struck moments before the deadly crash, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Highway Patrol released the information this morning as authorities sought charges of felony hit and run, manslaughter and driving under the influence against the driver, Josue Diaz, 18, of Holtville.

Whether those charges are filed rests with the District Attorney's Office.

According to a Highway Patrol press release, the fatal accident occurred as Diaz was driving at a high rate of speed Saturday on Anderholt Road near Jasper Road.

Diaz failed to negotiate a curve in the road, causing him to drive off the roadway and the vehicle to roll.


A 15-year-old Calexico girl, Ivy Valenzuela, was ejected from the vehicle and died four hours later in El Centro Regional Medical Center.

She was one of four passengers in the vehicle, and she was the only one not wearing a seat belt, according to the Highway Patrol press release. The other passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries.

Diaz was arrested at the scene, taken to a hospital for minor injuries and then booked into the county jail with his bail set at $50,000. He remained in custody this morning.

Highway Patrol Officer David Marrs said this morning that Diaz was reportedly fleeing from a scene at which he had allegedly rear-ended on Highway 111 and McCabe Road.

Marrs said after that first accident both Diaz and the driver of the vehicle he struck had pulled over as if to assess the damage, then Diaz fled.

The other driver, whose identity was unavailable, gave chase and was pursuing Diaz when Diaz failed to negotiate the turn and lost control of the car.

Marrs said it was the driver of the vehicle that was chasing Diaz who was first on the scene after the accident and it was that driver who reported the accident.

Authorities tested Diaz for alcohol and drugs in his system. The results of those tests have not yet been determined. Marrs alleged Diaz appeared to be under the influence.

Marrs was unsure how many people were in the vehicle struck by Diaz, but said there were minor injuries resulting from that accident.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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