Police search for suspect accused of crashing into a tree at following attempted robbery

Crime
montopolis fatality 81619

One person died after crashing into a tree at an LCRA building on Montopolis Drive Aug. 16, 2019 (KXAN Photo/Todd Bynum)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Police are searching for a man accused of crashing a truck into a tree in southeast Austin following an attempted robbery. The suspect allegedly fled the scene of the crash which resulted in the death of a passenger.

At about 5:25 a.m. on August 16, authorities were called to the 3500 block of Montopolis drive following reports of the crash. Police say a red Chevrolet Tahoe crashed into a tree on the property of the LCRA building. Josephine Guerra, 27, a passenger in the truck, was thrown from it during the crash and died from her injuries.

A witness told investigators they saw three men run from the scene of the crash toward Ben White Boulevard.

While gathering evidence, officers were approached by a man who claimed to be the owner of the truck. He said his stepson, 28-year-old Michael Nathaniel Garcia, was the driver of the vehicle.

A second witness told police the people inside the Tahoe tried to rob him just before the crash. During an interview, he told police he met a woman named “Jada” on social media who needed a ride. He said she asked what kind of car he was driving and where to pick him up.

According to the witness, Jada had him park in an alley off Stassney Lane, where he thought she would have sex with him for giving her a ride. He said as they moved into the back seat a red Taho pulled up and attempted to block him in. He said Jada ran out of the car yelling, “get him,” as two men approached his car wielding machetes. The witness said he was able to get back into the driver’s seat and speed away before the men got to his car.

The witness told police the red Tahoe chased him as he headed north on Montopolis drive. He said they were reaching speeds close to 70 mph and the suspects attempted to ram him a few times. Eventually, the Tahoe lost control and crashed into a tree at the LCRA building.

Police showed the witness a photo lineup including a picture of Michael Garcia. He was able to identify Garcia as the driver of the Tahoe and “Jada” as Guerra who died in the crash.

Police are still looking for Garcia who faces a charge of failure to stop and render aid as well as a $40,000 bond.

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