Unborn baby killed in crash with impaired driver

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by Mike Gertzman

Video report by Mike Watkiss

Posted on April 4, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 8 at 2:12 PM

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PHOENIX -- The driver of a stolen pickup truck caused a crash that injured a pregnant woman, resulting in the death of her unborn baby, according to court documents.

Police said Michael Angelo De La Cruz, 31, was on methamphetamine when the stolen 2002 black colored pickup truck he was driving crossed the center line of McDowell Road at 9th Avenue at 2 a.m. and collided head-on with a minivan.

A 28-year-old woman was driving the minivan. Her pregnant 16-year-old niece was with her. They were taken to a hospital with serious injuries. The teen, who was 27 weeks pregnant, needed emergency surgery due to complications with the unborn child. The fetus did not survive.

De La Cruz and his 23-year-old female passenger fled the scene of the crash and ran to a nearby home where he broke into the homeowner's BMW in an unsuccessful attempt to steal the vehicle, according to police.

From that home, De La Cruz continued to run, leaving his passenger behind.

The homeowner called police and the passenger was taken into custody. She later identified De La Cruz as the driver of the pickup truck.

De La Cruz was apprehended a few blocks away from the crash scene after officers in a helicopter spotted him running.

Police said De La Cruz attempted to escape while he was at the hospital to have his blood collected for analysis as part of the investigation.

Court records state that De La Cruz admitted to using methamphetamine "all day" prior to the collision. He also admitted to running from the scene of the crash and said he borrowed the pickup truck from an unknown man.

He said he ran because he is on parole and has a felony warrant for his arrest.

De La Cruz is facing charges of second-degree murder, fleeing the scene of a collision, aggravated assault, aggravated DUI, felony escape, and unlawful means of transportation. Bond was set at $150,000.

"Because the baby was alive and the actions in this collision caused that death that baby is the death of a human being," said Sgt. Tommy Thompson with the Phoenix Police Department. "That death has got to be answered to by the suspect in this case."

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