Driver could face manslaughter charge in Phoenix crash that killed child

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by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Casey James

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 14 at 6:52 AM

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PHOENIX – A 19-year-old man could face a manslaughter charge after a 3-year-old boy died following a head-on collision in Phoenix Saturday night.

Phoenix police said Edgar Martinez was traveling northbound at a high rate of speed near 31st Avenue and Acoma Drive when he tried to pass a vehicle and lost control.

His Acura crossed into the oncoming lane and collided with a Nissan. The Acura overturned while the Nissan was forced backward.

Martinez received minor injuries and his front-seat passenger sustained serious injuries.

"When you see something like that, it really scares you," said Eduardo Camba, who saw the accident and stopped to help. "The magnitude of the accident was tremendous."

Phoenix police Sgt. Steve Martos said the Nissan driver and two children, ages 5 and 11, sustained injuries that were not considered life-threatening. A 3-year-old child in the Nissan, Eric Garces, suffered life-threatening injuries and was in extremely critical condition when he was transported to a local hospital.

Martos said Eric's family was with him when he died Monday morning.

A responding officer said Martinez exhibited signs of impairment, including bloodshot and watery eyes, eyelid tremors, elevated pulse and dilated pupils. According to court documents, Martinez admitted to the use of marijuana and possession of marijuana.

Martinez was booked into the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail for four counts of aggravated assault and one count of endangerment. He will likely face manslaughter charges, according to Martos.

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