PROVO — A man with a lengthy history of traffic offenses was driving impaired on Nov. 20 in a fatal head-on crash in Provo, charges state.
Ricardo Oswaldo Estrada, 26, of Provo, was charged Wednesday in 4th District Court with automobile homicide in the death of Maria Rodriguez, 54.
Police say Estrada admitted to drinking alcohol at a family birthday party before getting behind the wheel Nov. 20. That's when police say his Jeep Liberty collided with a Chevy Malibu driven by Rodriguez.
Estrada is charged with automobile homicide, a second-degree felony; driving on a denied license, a class C misdemeanor; and failure to operate a vehicle on the right side of the roadway, an infraction.
Witnesses say the crash at 800 N. University Ave. at the mouth of Provo Canyon was caused by a Jeep traveling north "at a high rate of speed" in southbound traffic. Court documents say the Jeep and Malibu struck each other head-on.
"Immediately after the collision, (Rodriguez's) car caught on fire. Witnesses on the scene found (Rodriguez) in the driver's seat of her car unresponsive with no pulse," charges state.
Paramedics arrived at the crash site and pronounced Rodriguez dead on arrival.
"(Estrada) was also still seated in the driver's seat of his vehicle and was clearly confused but responsive," charges state. "Paramedics noticed the odor of alcohol coming from (Estrada) and transported him to the hospital to assess his injuries."
Because of his injuries, Estrada wasn't subjected to any field sobriety tests, court documents say. Results from a blood test are pending.4 comments on this story
"At the hospital, officers also noticed the odor of alcohol and that (Estrada) had slurred speech," charges state.
Court records show Estrada has been convicted of 17 driver's license violations, five speeding violations, two driver's insurance violations and various other traffic offenses since 2007.
Estrada pleaded guilty in January 2011 to driving with a controlled substance in his system. His jail sentence was suspended in that case and he instead paid more than $1,200 in fines and was ordered to complete 24 hours of community service, according to court records.
Estrada is being held in the Utah County Jail.