Wife of man accused in fatal ambulance crash: 'He was drunk'
Police said they found two cans of Redd’s Wicked Apple Ale in the front seat of his car
By Paige Fry and Eliot Kleinberg
The Palm Beach Post
JUPITER, Fla. — “He was drunk,” the wife of the man accused of crashing his car into an ambulance and killing two paramedics June 1 told town police, according to a report.
Genaro De La Cruz Ajqui, 39, was arrested Thursday on two counts of vehicular homicide and of DUI manslaughter in the deaths of Lahiri Garcia, 51, and Paul Besaw, 36. He is due to appear in court Friday morning at the Palm Beach County Jail.
The affidavit for his arrest does not include a reading of his blood-alcohol level at the time of the wreck. A sample was drawn from him but was being held at the time the report was written pending an unspecified “legal request.”
But town police found two cold cans of Redd’s Wicked Apple Ale in the front seat of De La Cruz’ red Chrysler convertible, the report said. It also said a receipt and store video show he bought a 12-pack of Modelo beer from a CVS Pharmacy on West Indiantown Road a few hours before the crash.
When police arrived at Indiantown Road at Philadelphia Drive. the report said, De La Cruz’s car and the ambulance both were up on a sidewalk. Besaw, visible in the driver’s side window, was already dead. Garcia was not visible at first but responders heard him making noises and pulled him out; he later was pronounced dead at the scene. The report does not say whether the two wore seat belts, but a town crash report released this week says Besaw wore one while Garcia did not.
The report said responders found De La Cruz unconscious but that he appeared to be breathing.
In the arrest report, several people at a nearby bus stop told police they saw De La Cruz’ car make a U-turn in front of the ambulance, which the report said “had no chance to stop” and flipped on impact. Traffic was “extremely light along the length of the road” at the time of the crash, the report said.
As responders were pulling the paramedics from the ambulance, a woman identifying herself as Mary de Leon, De La Cruz’ wife, arrived and identified both her husband and his car, the report said.
“I asked De Leon if she thought Ajqui was drunk. She said, ‘he was drunk,’ ” the arresting officer’s report said. It said the woman told police her husband had had some type of apple-flavored alcoholic drink. She would say later in a written statement that De La Cruz had begun drinking around 8 p.m., seven hours before the crash. She would say she left to go to the beach to “to clear her mind” after the two argued over a topic or topics she didn’t specify.
At the crash site said, she told police she returned to find her husband had “inexplicably taken some belongings and their TV and left the residence,” the report said.
As two officers headed to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach to talk to De La Cruz, the report said, other officers found two cold cans of the apple ale in the car and reported the interior smelled of alcohol.
An officer who got a blood sample from De La Cruz at the hospital said for the report that the man smelled of alcohol and his eyes were bloodshot and glassy. He said he obtained two vials of blood before De La Cruz got a CAT scan that revealed his injuries did not require immediate surgery.
West Palm Beach Police arrested De La Cruz Thursday when he was released from St. Mary’s Medical Center.
The Jupiter arrest report said police conducted a check that showed De La Cruz was cited in October for driving without a license, and still doesn’t have one. Palm Beach County records show that, in 10 years, De La Cruz he was cited three times for driving without a license and once for not having a tag for his car. Each time he pleaded guilty and paid a fine, according to records. On Christmas Eve 2015, he was cited for passing in a no-pass zone and paid the civil penalty.
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