SAN DIEGO — The man accused of killing two sisters in a hit-and-run crash in the Bay Terraces neighborhood on Mother’s Day made a video appearance before a judge Wednesday afternoon.
It left raw emotion both in and outside of a San Diego courtroom as family and friends of the victims gathered for the arraignment of the man in question, 53-year-old Tony Garcia.
“I know she’s in a better place right now, she’s watching over us. And what I want to say is that no matter how much time passes, she was my first love,” shared Andrew Guttierez, boyfriend to 23-year-old victim Jazmin Higuera Cano. She and her 25-year-old sister Elizabeth Cano, a wife and mother, both died in the hit-and-run crash early Mother’s Day morning.
Garcia of San Diego was driving the F150 that killed the two sisters and injured two others. After running away, he turned himself into police 14 hours later.
Authorities say the Honda, which was driven by the 22-year-old woman, turned in front of the F150. The front seat passenger, Elizabeth, and the rear passenger side occupant, Jazmin, both died at the hospital following the crash, SDPD confirmed.
On Wednesday, Garcia appeared before a judge and pleaded not guilty to two counts of vehicular manslaughter.
Garcia’s original bail was set for $100,000. The defendant asked for $50,000 while the family of both Elizabeth and Jazmin, asked for $500,000. The judge ended up settling at $250,000 and ruled Garcia a flight risk. The Deputy District Attorney says Elizabeth and Jazmin had the green light, and that Garcia ran the red. It’s still unclear if he was intoxicated.
According to the Deputy DA, a witness at the scene claims to have held a conversation with Garcia who allegedly called the accident himself a hit-and-run and then proceeded to continue in the opposite direction of the wreck.
“It’s so serious, it’s so tragic, it’s so tragic. The fact that we have multiple families that can be affected, especially on a day like Mother’s Day when one mother was killed. It’s heart wrenching,” said Deputy DA, Laura Evans.
It was learned Wednesday in court that Garcia does have an extensive criminal record. If convicted, Garcia faces up to 13 years in prison. He will make his next appearance in court on June 29. If his family does post that $250,000 bail, Garcia will not be allowed to drive a motor vehicle and will have a GPS monitor.