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Camden man charged with negligent homicide in fatal wreck that killed Magnolia woman

by Michael Hanich | October 12, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

CAMDEN - The Camden Police Department arrested William Garcia, 53, of Camden on Friday, Oct. 8, in relation to that night's highway wreck which left Rebecca Elliott, 64, of Magnolia, dead.

Garcia is facing charges of negligent homicide, driving while intoxicated, driving on a suspended licence, drinking on the highway, careless and prohibited driving, disregard of a controlled traffic light and driving without headlights.

According to an Arkansas State Police report, Camden Police Officer Dion Tyson responded to an accident on U.S. Highway 278/79 North at Bradley Ferry on Friday, Oct. 8, shortly after 9:21 p.m.

According to a CPD affidavit, upon arrival at the scene, Tyson saw Garcia's vehicle operating without headlights or taillights; the officer also noted front bumper damage to Garcia's vehicle, a 2004 Silverado, and a 2014 Ford Escape on the right shoulder of the road with the rear damaged.

Along with Rebecca Elliott, Michael Elliott, 65, of Magnolia and an unnamed minor child were in the Ford Escape, according to the ASP.

Rebecca Elliott, who was in the back passenger seat of the Escape, had a faint pulse when Tyson arrived on the scene, according to the CPD report. Tyson immediately called for EMS for all three occupants of the Escape.

After EMS was called, Tyson returned to Garcia, who allegedly smelled of alcohol. According to the CPD, Tyson saw empty cans of Michelob Ultra in the back passenger floorboard of Garcia's truck.

Tyson asked Garcia if he'd been drinking, and Garcia responded affirmatively, according to police.

According to the CPD, Garcia subsequently refused multiple times to take a field sobriety test, and Tyson noticed an empty alcohol box in the driver's floorboard. Garcia again reportedly told Tyson he'd been drinking.

Asked if he'd seen the Ford Escape, Garcia told Tyson "they pulled out in front of me," according to the CPD.

During a search of the suspect, Tyson reported that Garcia smelled heavily of alcohol and urine, police said.

A witness at the scene of the car wreck said they saw no headlights or taillights on Garcia's truck before his collision with the Elliotts' vehicle. A second witness said they saw Garcia throwing beer cans in his backseat almost immediately after the car wreck, according to police.

Garcia was transported to the Camden Police Department where his blood alcohol content (BAC) was measured; police said Garcia was shown to have a BAC of .255, over twice the legal limit.

Police also discovered that Garcia did not have a valid driver's license due to two prior DWIs.

According to police, Rebecca Elliott suffered cardiac arrest after the wreck and died. The minor child, a boy, was treated at Ouachita County Medical Center for a broken nose, several broken teeth and pain in his leg, and Michael Elliott was treated for cuts on his face and arms.

Garcia was being held at the Ouachita County Detention Center on Monday afternoon awaiting his first appearance; his first district court hearing has been scheduled for Nov. 17.

Print Headline: Camden man charged with negligent homicide in fatal wreck that killed Magnolia woman

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