By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – More than four months after a deadly crash just hours into the new year, the teen who police say was behind the wheel made his first appearance in adult court.

Alex Garcia, 16, is facing ten charges including vehicular homicide and DUI manslaughter.

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Garcia had previously appeared in juvenile court. During his first appearance in adult court, he was hoping the judge would grant him bond.

“I think he made decisions that night that were adult decisions. And we think he should be tried as an adult,” said Andres Medina.

His daughter Yuhlia Gelats was one of four people who died just hours into 2021. Garcia is accused of speeding at more than 100 miles per hour along West Flagler Street when he crashed into a car near 79th Avenue, killing everyone inside and injuring two in his own SUV. He was driving on a learner’s permit.

During Monday’s proceeding, the prosecutor said Garcia was under the influence.

“It’s not just the presence of THC, it’s the presence of THC metabolites and a blood alcohol level of .06. This is a 16-year-old. A 16-year-old. It’s illegal, he can’t drink judge,” said Assistant State Attorney Genevieve Valle

Garcia’s attorney countered that his client was not under the influence.

“There is no clear evidence, so far, that he was under the influence at the time of the crash but for the speed. Furthermore, there was no evidence of driving pattern or alcohol, slurred speech, glassy eyes. There were no beer cans or bottles found within the vehicle,” said attorney Brian Kirlew.

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Appearing virtually at the hearing was a friend of Garcia’s who was in the car with him and seriously injured.

“Are you feeling okay now?” asked the judge.

“Ya, I feel good,” he replied. “I don’t want to press charges.”

“That’s up for the State Attorney’s Office to determine how this case will proceed.” said the judge.

Also brought up in court, two instances of recent vandalism at the roadside memorial to those who died.

“Whoever’s doing something like that, to destroy their memorial, is really, sounds like a very ill person or sick person who needs help because it’s a very cruel thing to do,” said Miami-Dade magistrate Judge Mindy Glazer.

Visiting that site after the hearing, Yuhlia’s father was pleased to see the roadside marker’s set up and vows to overcome anyone who may vandalize the memorial to those young lives lost.

“Love always wins. They can do it 20 times, but love is going to come 21 times if they have to and love always wins,” said Medina.

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Judge Glazer ended up denying bond for Garcia and said he will go before the case judge in the next five days where he can make his request again.

Ted Scouten