CHP says man steals car, causes fatal crash

An 18-year-old male from Watsonville was arrested after he allegedly caused a car crash on eastbound Highway 152 near Watsonville Road around 8:30 a.m. Monday that caused fatal injuries to his passenger.

The driver, Marcos Avalos, was arrested for manslaughter and auto theft Monday afternoon.

The passenger, Rudy Gonzalez, Jr., 18 of Watsonville, suffered severe trauma to his upper body and was transferred to a San Jose hospital, where he died. 

After the crash, the 1994 Honda Accord was found to be stolen out of Santa Cruz County, according to Erica Elias, California Highway Patrol Officer, which helped shed light on the cause of the crash. 

“Because they had stolen the vehicle, they had tampered with the ignition, causing (the steering wheel) to lock and causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle,” Elias said. 

Elias said the car spun out to the side of the road and hit a tree on the passenger’s side. 

The driver also suffered laceration and fractured vertebrae and was transported to the hospital, where CHP arrested him later that day.

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