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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Charges finally filed in May drug-fueled accident that resulted in death of five-year-old

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

A Clarksville woman Russellville police say was driving under the influence of drugs back in May who caused an accident that killed a toddler was charged on Monday with one count of Negligent Homicide four months and four days after the fatal accident in Russellville.

Alexandra Suarez was already out on bail from a previous drug arrest at the time of the accident, which took the life of five-year-old Josiah Garcia. She was arrested on June 8 and charged with one count of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia from a separate incident and has been in the Johnson County Detention Center since that arrest.

Family members had been told several weeks ago that Suarez would be charged in the child's death "within days" but the warrant was not signed and issued until Monday. Negligent Homicide (or involuntary manslaughter) usually refers to an unintentional killing that results from criminal negligence or a gross deviation from the standard of care expected from a reasonable person.

In Arkansas, Negligent Homicide is a Class B felony punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and/or imprisonment for between five and 20 years.

Information from the original police report indicates blood samples were drawn at St. Mary's Hospital in Russellville on May 24 from two individuals associated with the accident. The driver of the second car in the accident gave consent to have the sample taken according to the police report. The same report says the sample from Suarez had to be obtained through a warrant because she was incoherent and could not consent to the sample request.

Those samples were sent to the Arkansas Crime Lab in Little Rock four days after the accident. When the results came back last week, the samples had revealed the presence of benzodiazepines, cannabis, generic opioids and opiates in Suarez's system.

Police were told by Mikayla Ragsdale, the mother of Josiah Garcia, that she was aware that Suarez had taken "half a klonopin pill" at 7AM the morning of the accident, which occurred less than four- and- a half hours later that day.

When police returned to the hospital the following morning to interview Suarez, they were told she had checked herself out of the facility against doctors orders at around 5 p.m. on May 24.

Ragsdale and the mother of a second child injured in the accident were inside a blood plasma center selling plasma when Suarez, who was reportedly supposed to wait in the car with the two children, drove the Dodge from the scene and collided with the second vehicle on a bridge on US Highway 64 in Russellville.

Suarez had been rejected as a plasma donor before returning to the vehicle.

Ragsdale also told police Suarez said she was "going to take the kids to the park to play" although the mother of the second child injured in the wreck, Larissa Bennett told Today in Fort Smith she was under the impression that the vehicle was to remain in the parking lot. Bennett also said after donating plasma that Suarez appeared to be "out of it".

TIFS obtained a copy of text message between Ragsdale and Bennett from the day of the accident reportedly exchanged while they were in the blood plasma center. In that exchange, Bennett replied to a "WTF" text from Ragsdale following a question about the status of the children to which Bennett replied "Yea..she has our kids..and she may have seemed a touch f***** up so I'm going to worry".

When the women exited the blood plasma center and saw Suarez was gone they started walking and arrived at the scene of the accident after the children had already been transported to the hospital.

You can read the entire transcript of the Criminal Information report by clicking he following link:

Criminal information
Download PDF • 1.26MB

Information obtained from Arkansas Court Connect indicates Suarez was arrested on May 22, two days before the fatal Russellville accident, for Careless and Dangerous Driving and DWI in a one-vehicle accident that day.

Records indicated the arrest warrant that was issued April 12 for Suarez was served on May 27. That warrant was for felony counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance and Paraphernalia and misdemeanor Possession of Marijuana for which she is currently incarcerated.

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