10 months after a fatal crash in West Valley, prosecutors believe they know who caused it

Dec 6, 2022, 7:54 PM
A woman who was allegedly driving a pickup truck that ran a red light and killed another driver in ...
A woman who was allegedly driving a pickup truck that ran a red light and killed another driver in West Valley in February has been arrested and is now facing criminal charges. (Spenser Heap/Deseret News)
(Spenser Heap/Deseret News)

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Ten months after arresting a man believed to have caused a fatal crash in West Valley City, prosecutors now say it was a woman who was actually driving that day with the man.

Cristal Erica Garcia, 30, of Salt Lake City, was charged Monday in 3rd District Court with manslaughter, a second-degree felony; leaving the scene of an accident involving death and obstructing justice, third-degree felonies; and three infractions including speeding, running a red light and not having a valid driver’s license.

On Feb. 23, Carol Kay “Butterflii” Galentine, 26, was hit and killed at the intersection of 3600 West and Parkway Boulevard (2700 South) when a Toyota Tundra ran a red light and smashed into her and another car, according to police.

Investigators determined that the Tundra was traveling 49 mph just five seconds before the crash. The speed limit for that area was 35 mph. The traffic signal had been red for 35 seconds before the crash happened, the charges state.

When police arrived at the scene, witnesses pointed to Jair Ivan Bautista, 28, of Kearns, who was standing about 50 yards away from the wrecked Tundra. Bautista had allegedly asked another person for a ride, stating “he needed to leave the scene,” charging documents state.

Officers questioned Bautista and noted he had an odor of alcohol coming from his breath, slurred speech and was not cooperative with police after claiming the driver of the Tundra had walked away, the charges state

“Bautista began to walk away and became very aggressive, (including) yelling expletives, and making movements to get away from officers’ grasps,” according to the charges.

Bautista was arrested for investigation of automobile homicide, driving on a suspended license, being an alcohol-restricted driver, and failing to remain at the scene of a crash involving death. But when formal charges were filed, Bautista was charged with assault on a police officer, failing to stop at the command of police and intoxication, but nothing in connection with Galentine’s death or any driving-related crime.

That same day, West Valley police put out a plea to the public for witnesses to the crash to contact officers.

Meanwhile, detectives also collected forensic evidence from the Tundra, including DNA from the driver’s side airbag and a “well-preserved handprint from inside the windshield above the steering wheel,” the charges state. The print was confirmed to match Garcia’s.

When questioned, Garcia claimed Bautista was driving, and continued to deny she was the driver, even when police presented her with the forensic evidence, the charges state. Prosecutors have requested that she be held in the Salt Lake County Jail without bail pending trial.

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10 months after a fatal crash in West Valley, prosecutors believe they know who caused it