BREAKING: Man to face vehicular homicide charge in fatal Christmas crash

March 06, 2018
WPTV
A 9-year-old Fort Pierce boy was killed in Christmas-morning crash on his birthday.

The driver in the Christmas day crash that killed a 9-year-old boy and injured a 5-year-old girl and an adult woman is now facing a vehicular homicide charge related to the crash, Fort Pierce police said Tuesday.

Julio Ruiz, 29, of Fort Pierce also will face charges of DUI manslaughter, child neglect with great bodily harm, DUI with bodily injury, DUI with property damage and driving with a suspended license, an offense for which he'd been convicted before, police said.

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An investigation following the crash found that Ruiz had a blood-alcohol level of .145 — nearly twice the legal threshold for intoxication of .08 — in the wreck at Cortez and Sunrise boulevards, a three-way intersection south of Virginia Avenue and west of U.S. 1, police said.

Ruiz was driving a 2005 Toyota Corolla at least 77 mph in a 35 mph zone when he crashed into an unoccupied Ford F-250 pickup truck just after 4:30 a.m. Dec. 25, police said.

Issac Santillan, one of two children in the car, died at the scene of the crash. Christmas Day was his birthday. The girl who was injured, Alani Ruiz, was Issac’s sister.

Ruiz was in the St. Lucie Jail at the time of his arrest. He had been in custody since Jan. 5 on unrelated charges.