Man high on pills was driving 106 mph during fatal crash, troopers say

Suspect's 34-year-old passenger died in crash

A vehicle was split in two pieces as a result of a DUI crash in Melbourne, according to FHP.
A vehicle was split in two pieces as a result of a DUI crash in Melbourne, according to FHP.

MELBOURNE, Fla. – A man high on sedatives was driving 106 mph when he caused a crash that killed his passenger, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

The crash happened Feb. 14 in Melbourne on County Road 511 near Turtle Mound Road, which is a 35 mph zone.

Troopers said Christopher Vazquez, 40, was speeding through an intersection without stopping in his 2014 Ford Focus ST when he struck the right rear of a 2016 Toyota Corolla with enough force to dislodge the rear bumper and rear doors from the vehicle and send that portion flying into the air before it landed 91 feet away.

The rest of the Toyota rotated clockwise and came to a rest in the intersection, the report said. The driver, 72-year-old Harley Watkins, suffered minor injuries.

Vazquez's vehicle continued through the intersection, rotating clockwise until it struck the front of a 2014 Jeep Cherokee, driven by David Katz, according to the report. Vazquez's Honda and the Jeep both came to a final rest on the shoulder of County Road 511.

Troopers said Vazquez's passenger,  34-year-old Ricardo Guadelupe, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. David Katz and his passenger, Georgia Katz, suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the crash.

All three vehicles were totaled as a result of the crash, troopers said.

A witness told News 6 partner Florida Today that Vazquez was racing with another vehicle that was not involved in the crash. The FHP report does not mention street racing.

An investigation into the crash found that Vazquez was driving 106 mph at the time of the crash and he was under the influence of cannabinoids and the sedatives diazepam, midazolam and nordiazepam, according to authorities.

Vazquez was arrested Monday on charges of DUI causing death, DUI causing property damage and vehicular manslaughter. He's being held at the Brevard County Jail.

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