Woman accused of DUI death in jail on $500,000 bail

SMOKEY POINT — A Burlington woman was being jailed Monday on suspicion that she left her sister to die Sept. 30 after a drunken crash along I-5 at Smokey Point.

Maria Rosario Garcia, 41, allegedly was driving up to 90 mph along I-5 shortly before losing control of her Acura. The car left the road at the 172nd Street NE exit, struck a sign and a culvert and rolled, according to a report prepared by Washington State Patrol detectives.

Blanca E. Garcia, 28, of Mount Vernon, was ejected during the crash and died several hours later at an area hospital. Investigators initially believed she had been the driver.

Their investigation instead led them to conclude that the dead woman’s older sister, Maria Garcia, had been behind the wheel, according to documents filed in Everett District Court.

Maria Garcia reportedly had consumed at least six beers before the 3 a.m. crash. She was wanted on numerous warrants, and fled the crash scene before police arrived, reportedly hiding in some nearby brush.

Maria Garcia not only didn’t help her sister, she fell asleep while in her hiding spot, detectives said.

When she awoke, she went to a nearby fast-food restaurant and asked to use a phone. She had obvious injuries. She told workers that she’d been beaten by a boyfriend, and urged them not to call police.

Marysville police and Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies were alerted anyway, and she continued to claim to be a victim of domestic violence, the report said.

She was taken for treatment at the same hospital where her sister was dying. She reportedly told her mother that she was unaware that her sister was in the car.

The investigation determined Blanca Garcia had been in the right front passenger seat at the time of the crash.

Maria Garcia left the hospital with somebody in her family, and according to detectives, was hidden by them for weeks. She ultimately surrendered Nov. 5 and was locked up on warrants in Whatcom County.

The investigation is continuing and awaiting results from tests on evidence sent to the state crime lab, trooper Mark Francis said.

After being booked into the Snohomish County Jail in Everett for investigation of vehicular homicide and involvement in a hit-and-run death, the woman’s bail was set at $500,000. Detectives said they consider her a flight risk because she uses multiple aliases and already is facing a hearing about potential deportation to Mexico.

Scott North: 425-339-3431, north@heraldnet.com.

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