A suspected drunken driver led officers on a high-speed pursuit Saturday night that ended when he crashed into a family's car, killing a 1-year-old girl and injuring her parents and older brother, Garland police say.
Officers tried to stop Adrian Maldonado, 19, after he drove through a red light at Broadway Boulevard and Oates Road in Garland around 10 p.m.
The black Nissan SUV blew through a second red light at Broadway and Duck Creek Drive and continued driving with officers following with lights and sirens on. A Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter was called in to assist as officers continued the pursuit on the ground.
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Officers followed the Nissan for about 5 minutes on Interstate 30 and Interstate 635 through Mesquite and Garland. The Nissan went over 100 mph at one point and the driver turned off the headlights as it went down I-635, police said.
Police said the officers reduced their speed and dropped out of sight hoping that the vehicle would slow down and out of concern for their safety, but the driver continued to speed and eventually exited I-635 in Dallas.
"At that point in time we tried everything to get this person to stop. Lights, sirens, helicopter, nothing was working, he was still going with the complete disregard for the safety of everyone, so our officers backed off since we had the helicopter overhead, trying to create a space between us and that driver, hoping that if that driver could not see us, they would slow down," said Garland police Lt. Pedro Barineau. “However that driver made no attempt to slow down.”
He ran a red light turning onto E. Northwest Highway, then drove through another red light at Shiloh Road, where he crashed into a white Ford Mustang as it drove through the intersection, according to police.
The parents in the front two seats, their 2-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter were all taken with serious injuries in critical condition to area hospitals, where the young girl died, police said.
"As they're obeying the law, going through the intersection as most everybody expected to go through a green light, they are T-boned by someone who is intoxicated, somebody who has no regard for the safety of anybody else, driving at a high rate of speed and blowing through red lights as if nothing matters," Barineau said. "So this is a tragedy, this is horrible, a 2-year-old whose life is taken before it even started."
One witness, Robyn Pearson, said she saw the aftermath of the crash and said the Mustang looked like it had been plowed into.
"I glanced over and saw the young girl and I didn’t see the mother or the father and I saw her, and I stood over at Chevron and they were loading them in the ambulance and I just left, I couldn’t take it any more," Pearson said. "It makes me feel bad because whenever the mother and father wake up they’re going to be told that their daughter is no longer here and that’s really going to break their heart.”
Maldonado and his passenger, Denise Vivas, ran away from the SUV, but were apprehended, police said.
“I think that they’re cowards, anybody who drinks and gets behind the wheel of a car, I lost a best friend to that," Pearson said.
Maldonado faces charges of intoxication manslaughter, three counts of intoxication assault and evading arrest with a vehicle causing death of another. He was also wanted on a probation violation warrant out of Dallas County on a burglary of a habitation charge. He is currently in the Dallas County Jail being held on a $550,000 bond.
Vivas, 19, faces an evading arrest charge. At last check, Vivas was being held in the Garland Detention Center.
Police said the crash is still under investigation and they're looking into where Maldonado was before the crash.
Editors Note: Dallas Police initially told us the children involved in the crash were 3-years-old and 2-years-old. They revised those ages at a later time to be 2-years-old and 1-years-old.