Baby dies days after father killed in suspected Walnut Creek DUI crash

Days after her father was killed in a suspected DUI crash in Walnut Creek, officials confirm the 8-month-old child injured in the collision has died. 

Walnut Creek Police Department say Hector Garza's daughter, Camilla, passed away from her injuries Tuesday at Children's Hospital in Oakland. She had been previously listed in critical condition. 

A gofundme set up for Garza's family to pay for medical expenses had raised more than $80,000 by Wednesday. Garza and his daughter were killed by an alleged drunk driver. 

A Garza family spokesman, attorney Alan Van Gelder, released the following statement:

"The Garza family is struggling to comprehend how this tragic incident has taken the lives of two beloved individuals. Kirsten Garza is mourning the death of her husband, Hector and their 8-month-old daughter, Camilla who passed away last night. Kirsten is surrounded by family and friends who are providing her with love and support during this profoundly painful time. Kristen and her family are asking everyone to please allow them to grieve for their losses and respect their privacy.”

Garza, 45, was driving Camilla home from her grandparent's house around 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 when a drunk driver slammed into them, and two other vehicles in Walnut Creek. 

Walnut Creek Police Lt. Tom Cashion said the crash and deaths of a father and baby have impacted officers and investigators.

“It's really taken a toll on our whole department,” Cashion said. “We just feel so sad for the family that they're having to go through this. We're trying to do everything we can that the person responsible is held accountable for her behavior.”

A 35-year-old Tennessee woman, Jessica Martin, was arrested on suspicion of DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

Martin appeared before a judge Wednesday morning, but her arraignment was postponed until Nov. 8. 
“This is obviously a very tragic and heinous case and felt the charges were warranted,” Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts said. “We have evidence of all the elements that we need to prove second degree murder in this particular case.”

Cashion said investigators believe Martin had a blood alcohol level that was well above the legal limit. Investigators have also obtained video of the crash, captured from the dashcam of a Tesla car.
Martin was with her boyfriend at the time of the crash. Police said the two were recently living in Los Angeles, but were in the Bay Area looking for job opportunities.

Police said Martin crashed into the three cars driving on S. Broadway, just north of Rudgear Road. She remains in custody and is charged with two counts of murder, one count of driving under the influence of alcohol causing great bodily injury and one count of driving with a .08% blood alcohol content causing injury. Her bail is set at $2.1 million, according to police. 

One day after the crash, Walnut Creek Police Lt. Joe Donleavy said they received multiple 911 calls, and the crash shut down the road for several hours.

"I've been an officer for 18 years, this may be the worst collision I've ever responded to," Lt. Joe Donleavy said on Friday. “Cars were almost unrecognizable as to the make and model. It almost looked like an explosion. That speaks to the significance of the forces involved here.”
 
He said investigators believe Martin was driving southbound on S. Broadway when she missed a curve and sideswiped one car, crashed into a second car, and hit a third car. All three cars were traveling northbound on S. Broadway.

The driver of the first car had to be extricated and is in the hospital with life threatening injuries.

Garza was the driver of the second car. 

The gofundme page earlier on Tuesday said, "Many are asking on the status of Hector’s daughter Camilla. Unfortunately, we still do not have any positive updates to share. We please ask for everyone to continue to pray for Camilla and to pray for Kirsten and Hector’s family through this incredibly tragic time." 

The driver of the third car suffered minor injuries and was transported to the hospital for treatment.

Martin suffered moderate injuries and was arrested at the hospital. A passenger in Martin’s car, a man from Los Angeles, suffered minor injuries. He was questioned by authorities.

Donleavy said investigators have interviewed a number of witnesses to the crash, but they want anyone with information about Martin to come forward.

“We want to back track where Ms. Martin was coming from prior to the collision,” he said. “We’re trying to recreate the series of events throughout the day. Where she may have been. Where she may have been drinking. Who she may have been hanging out with.”

Donleavy said the accident is yet another reminder for people to not drink and drive.

“There’s no such thing as buzzed driving. It’s drunk driving. If you’ve had a couple of drinks, don’t drive,” he said. “This was an incredible tragedy and unfortunately this happens far too often.”

Anyone with information about where Martin was coming from prior to the crash is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Bruce Jower at 925-943-5899, ext. 3582 or jower@walnutcreekpd.com.

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