Suspect Found In Mexico, Charged With 2003 Drunk Driving Accident That Left Victim In A Coma
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) – Christina Applegate is remembered by her former Franklin Township neighbor Kathy Slusarz.
“She was a dynamo; she was young, freshly married”.
Elaine Dawson a former coworker at the Franklin Township Wawa says they have a plaque in the store with Christina’s picture on it to keep her close. She can’t forget the car accident in September of 2003 in front of the store that mangled Christina’s car and left her, 21 at the time, in a coma.
“I heard a crash, then saw car parts flying through the air”, says Dawson.
Juan Bautista, 22 at the time, was charged with drunk driving and related offenses in the accident. But he posted bail and fled. After almost eight years on the run, authorities caught up with him in Mexico.
“They arrested him in December 2010”, says Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton.
Dalton explains the county’s fugitive task force never gave up looking for him. Convinced Bautista had fled to his native Mexico they had translated the entire case file in Spanish and proved to
Mexican authorities he was born there. They started looking with Detective Sergeant Tim O’Brien, who is now retired.
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“I gave them a list of relatives, ages and the town they lived in. I am assuming that’s how they got him,” he said.
“Happiness”, says Dawson at the Wawa. “I got chills up my back”, she says when she learned Bautista was in custody.
“They were appropriately pleased”, says Dalton of Christina’s parents who care for her even though she is married. Christina is on a ventilator and feeding tube and remains in a vegetative state.
Dalton says Bautista will be tried on charges related to the crash in Mexico because there is no extradition agreement for that level of charges.
Reported by Robin Rieger, CBS 3