Tulare teen accused of causing deadly crash while drunk to be arraigned Tuesday

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Jace Freitas, 18, will be in court tomorrow and could face a murder charge after police say he caused a crash that killed a 50-year-old woman while under the influence. (KFSN)

A Tulare teenager faces murder charges after he allegedly drove drunk and killed a 50-year-old woman. Police tried to pull over Jace Freitas, 18, before the Sunday afternoon crash.

Freitas took out a sign, a couple of poles, and, according to Tulare police, also hit a fire hydrant. But the damage he caused just moments before was far worse.

Police say he had blown a red light at the intersection of J Street and Prosperity, before crashing into a Nissan Altima carrying four people.

A 50-year-old woman, who was a passenger, died later Sunday afternoon as a result of her injuries. She has not yet been identified.

"We're asking for help from the sheriff's department to help identify family because we don't know the family, who her family is," Sgt. Andy Garcia with the Tulare Police Department said.

Garcia says the department received a call around 12:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon about a possibly intoxicated person getting into his car.

"By the time we got to the actual location, that subject had already left," Garcia said.

But Garcia says the witness gave a great description of the person and vehicle, including the license plate number. An officer spotted the car on the other side of town.

When he tried to pull it over, the driver, later identified as Freitas, took off and sped down J Street for about half a mile - not stopping even after he hit the Altima. Garcia says the officer in pursuit saw the crash happen.

"At the time where the suspected driver tried to flee, his attention was still on that driver," he said.

Freitas was not injured and was arrested for driving under the influence, evading a police officer, and murder. Police are asking anyone else who saw the crash to give them a call.

They also say to do what the witness, in this case, did which was to call police when they suspected someone was driving drunk.

The three other people in the Altima all had minor injuries. Freitas is scheduled to be arraigned at the Tulare County pretrial facility Tuesday afternoon.
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