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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Charges to be filed against Clarksville woman in accident that resulted in death of 5-year-old

Updated: Jun 6, 2021

Today in Fort Smith has been provided with information concerning the automobile accident that occurred on May 24 in Russellville that took the life of a five year-old and sent a three year-old to Arkansas Children's Hospital, and it appears criminal charges will be filed against the driver of one of the vehicles.

According to information from a leaked official police report from the Russellville Police Department, 23-year old Alex Suarez is being sought for Manslaughter, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor in the First Degree, Second Degree Battery and Violation of the Omnibus DWI Act in the accident, which resulted in the death of five-year-old Josiah Garcia of Clarksville.

Suarez, who was already out on bond for a March 3 arrest for Possession of a Controlled Substance Meth/,Cocaine, Possession of Controlled Substance Schedule VI and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, was the driver of a 2015 Dodge Dart that police say crossed the centerline and struck another vehicle near downtown Russellville.

TIFS has made various attempts t0o obtain an official copy of the June 1 report from the RSPD, but our calls have gone unreturned. A poor quality copy of that report is posted below after the Russellville Police Department failed to return at last three phone calls seeking information on the situation. TIFS obtained our copy from a private citizen.

Today in Fort Smith has also learned that Suarez was arrested in Johnson County the week prior to the accident and charged with DWI-Drugs and Failure to Maintain Control of a Motor Vehicle. She is also a convicted felon who has served time in the Arkansas Department of Corrections for Breaking and Entering, Theft of Property and Unauthorized use of a Credit Card.

Today in Fort Smith was provided with a copy of the report, filed Tuesday by the Russellville Police Department, that provides more details that were available in the initial preliminary report filed by the Arkansas State Police.

Sources had indicated that toxicology samples were taken after the accident for both drivers and that Russellville Police were awaiting the final results from the Arkansas State Crime Lab before seeking charges in the accident.

Police had to obtain an emergency warrant to draw the blood sample from Suarez, who was incoherent to the point she could not consent to the procedure in the hospital according to the report.

In addition to causing the death of Garcia, the accident resulted in injuries to three-year-old Awnrey Bennett of Knoxville, who suffered an orbital wall blowout, a fractured nose, a torn spleen, multiple vertebra compression fractures and an abrasion from the seat belt on her buttocks and private region.

Sixty-two-year-old Vickie Keeton, the driver of a 2019 Highlander that was struck head-on by the Dodge, suffered a broken sternum, broken ribs and abrasions on both shins.

Suarez was also taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Russellville with undisclosed injuries, but checked herself out of the hospital against doctor's advice before police could interrogate her the morning after the accident.

Minor details differ between our initial story and some of the information in the leaked Russellville police report.

For example, the mother of the three year-old injured in the crash stated that Saurez was supposed to stay with the children in the parking lot of the blood plasma facility where the women were selling plasma while Mikayla Ragsdale, the mother of the dead boy, told police she was aware Suarez was going to take the children to a nearby park.

Ragsdale, who is reportedly in a relationship with Saurez, has created a maelstrom on social media defending Suarez and has made statements supporting her initial claims the the wreck occurred when the Highlander struck the Dodge. However, the eyewitness statement in the police report as well as the physical evidence at the scene disputes those claims.

In addition, Ragsdale has a set of twins that are currently out of her custody after the father of the children prevailed in getting an Emergency Custody Order after finding a "glass smoking device" on the food tray of one of the children at the Ragsdale residence. A hearing has been set in June to address that situation.

When interviewed by police the day of the accident and asked if Suarez was under the influence of any narcotics, Ragsdale stated she had observed Suarez taking "half a klonopin pill" at 7 am on the morning of the accident, which occurred at 11:20 a.m.

Ragsdale told police Suarez seemed to be "out of it" during her initial interview at the hospital. The mother of the injured three-year-old told police she messaged Ragsdale at one point saying "she seemed f***** up" to which Ragsdale replied "she is f***** up that's why I drove" (to the blood plasma center).

Suarez also contacted Today in Fort Smith on Tuesday, mistakenly blaming the social media release of the report on this reporter as well as claiming the report was fake.

Suarez also threatened legal action if the initial story (May 25) wasn't taken down and claimed she had spoken with police earlier in the day and that "no charges would be filed against me".

Today in Fort Smith continues to try and work through official channels for information on this case and we will have more in formation as it becomes available.

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