Officer who arrested Garcia takes stand in the second day of trial


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)– More witnesses took the stand on Tuesday in Joel Garcia’s second day of trial.

Majority of them testified they believe Garcia was intoxicated the night of the crash.

Garcia is accused of driving drunk and killing three young people on Christmas Eve of 2014.

Law enforcement officials, nurses, and cocktail waitresses were some of those who testified.

The trial began with Officer Andres Rodriguez who was in the D.W.I Task Force unit the night of the scene, and the one who arrested Garcia after learning from witnesses he was the driver.

However, Rodriguez said Garcia had asked how the car went up in flames and once Rodriguez told him about the crash, Garcia admitted he was the driver but blamed the other car hit him.

Rodriguez said Garcia turned down a breath and blood test, however he also said he did not conduct a field of sobriety test at all that night.

Rodriguez among many other witnesses said they noticed Garcia had slurred speech, red glossy eyes, and a strong smell of alcohol on his breath.

Three cocktail waitresses who were working at El Cubo bar the night of the crash said they all saw the warning signs.

All waitresses said they saw and interacted with Garcia at one point or another before he got behind the wheel.

One waitress said she knew Garcia through mutual friends and remembered seeing him with two other friends. She said she served them a bucket of six beers and after about 30 minutes they left but eventually came back.

Another waitress, Yazmin Portillo, said she knew Garcia as well and said greeted him the second time he came back to El Cubo.

Portillo said Garcia asked for her a shot, but she refused because she noticed he was drunk by the slur of his speech and how he was tipping over. She said she also saw Garcia keep asking other waitresses for drinks.

However, Portillo did not see anyone serve him any more.

Before Garcia left the bar, Portillo said she asked if he was driving and Garcia told her, “My friend is driving.” Portillo said Garcia left the bar right before closing time.

Court will reconvene on Wednesday at the 210th District Court starting at 8:30 a.m.

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