Winters man faces evading arrest charge after man dies in San Angelo police chase
SAN ANGELO - Police on Monday identified the driver and victim in last week's fatal crash near downtown.
Daniel Nakeia Diaz, 22, of Winters, was jailed early Saturday after the crash, which was the culmination of a police chase, according to officials. Diaz and three other occupants of the truck in which he allegedly was fleeing police were injured and taken to Shannon Medical Center.
One of the passengers, Gaiden Crelia, 20, died of his injuries, according to a news release issued Monday by the San Angelo Police Department.
The crash happened at West Concho Avenue and South Abe Street about 7:05 p.m. Friday, April 20, 2018, after a chase that lasted about three minutes through city streets. The pursuing officer was going 39 mph just before the crash, the release stated.
Investigators with SAPD's Street Crimes Division and Anti-crime Unit had instructed officers in patrol cars to stop the 2005 Dodge Ram pickup because of an "ongoing criminal investigation into felonious activity," the release stated.
The pickup evaded the attempted traffic stop, and while heading east on West Concho, it ran a red light and hit a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox SUV that was southbound on South Abe, police said. The pickup then went airborne and slammed into a traffic light at the intersection.
The Chevy's driver, an 83-year-old woman, reported no injuries, police said.
All four occupants of the Dodge were extracted from the vehicle and taken to Shannon Medical Center, where Crelia died.
After the crash, two people who had been in the pickup said in police interviews that the four were using illegal narcotics inside the vehicle before the collision, according to the news release. Drug paraphernalia was recovered at the scene.
Diaz was booked into Tom Green County jail about 2:10 a.m. Saturday, April 21, 2018, on suspicion of evading arrest/detention causing death. The charge is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. He remained in the Tom Green County Jail on Monday in lieu of $30,000 bond
The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating the collision. It's common for troopers to investigate crashes when they involve another law enforcement agency, officials said.
According to the release: "The San Angelo Police Department has a strict Pursuit Policy that appropriately weighs an officer’s sworn duty to apprehend lawbreakers with the obligation to protect life and the public’s safety. The aftermath ... has undoubtedly affected the Crelia Family as well as the emergency responders who were at the scene."
Before police released Crelia's identity, friends and family took to social media over the weekend to express their loss and sympathies.
In a message to the Standard-Times, Crelia's parents identified their son as the victim of the crash, saying he was sitting in the back seat.
The couple have set up a crowd-funding campaign to help with funeral expenses. To find out more, search for for "Gaiden Crelia" at gofundme.com.
The signal at South Abe Street and West Concho Avenue was damaged beyond repair, said Anthony Wilson with the city of San Angelo on Monday morning. Southbound traffic on Abe Street will be controlled by a flashing yellow light and is not required to stop. Eastbound and westbound traffic on West Concho will be controlled by stop signs and is required to stop.
More information about the replacement of the signal will be provided as it becomes available.