A college student was drunk by twice the legal limit and speeding when he plowed into an Uber driver, killing a passenger in a fiery wreck in Southwest Miami-Dade, prosecutors said Thursday.
Alexander Chica, 21, also admitted to police he downed drinks at the Sidebar lounge in the Brickell district not long before the Dec. 27 crash, a prosecutor told a judge.
“He had drank two rum and cokes and also a beer ,” Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney Denise Georges said at Chica’s first court appearance on Thursday.
The judge agreed to allow Chica – a former Belen Jesuit High football player who is studying at Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio – to be released from jail after posting $30,000 bond. He must wear an electronic ankle monitor.
About 20 people, including a former football coach and a priest, crowded Judge Mindy Glazer’s court to support Chica.
His arrest late Wednesday added another twist in a that drew headlines this week after the victim’s family filed suit against Chica and Uber, the popular ride-sharing service. The negligence lawsuit was filed against Uber even though Miami-Dade police ultimately did not find the Uber driver at fault in the crash.
The victim was Pablo Sanchez Jr., 20, who along with some friends last month, contracted Uber after a night out at a club. The driver, Jean Adam, picked them up in a a black GMC Yukon. Shortly before 5 a.m., Adam was turning left on Southwest 144th Street at 157th Avenue, at a flashing yellow light, when Chica’s car sped straight through the intersection — hitting the SUV.
Georges estimated that Chica was traveling over 70 mph in a 35 mph zone.
The SUV flipped over and struck a concrete wall. Both cars erupted into flames. Sanchez, a Miami-Dade College student hoping to one day work as a pharmacist, was killed.
About two hours after the crash, Chica’s blood-alcohol level was measured at .155, well above the legal limit of .08, according to an arrest warrant.
Who was to blame for the crash is likely to be a point of dispute for lawyers. The state insists that said Adam had the right of way at the intersection. Chica’s defense lawyer, Susy Ribero-Ayala, said otherwise. “Speed alone is not enough for probable cause for vehicular manslaughter,” she told the judge. “And there is not going to be enough for DUI manslaughter.”
For now, Chica will be monitored electronically. Prosecutors initially were concerned because Chica, last week made a post on Twitter that suggested he might be leaving the country. “A little Colombia run coming soon,” he posted.
But his lawyer said the tweet was actually a reference to a Colombia soccer game played in Miami, not fleeing the country. Nevertheless, Chica was required to surrender his passport until his case is closed.