DAVIDSON COUNTY, NC – Troopers with the N.C. Highway Patrol have charged a man with driving while impaired in Sunday’s fatal two-vehicle accident on Interstate 85 South.
Trooper Nathan Teague confirmed Tuesday to The Dispatch that he charged Pedro Cuanas, 27, of 125 Smith Ave., with DWI. Cuanas received a custody release and a court date of June 29, the trooper said.
Pam Kearns, a spokeswoman with the State Highway Patrol, said 3-year-old Alexa Augilar died at the scene of the accident. The accident near mile marker 88 was reported at 2:45 a.m. She was one of four passengers – including three of her family members – in a vehicle driven by her mother’s boyfriend, Cuanas. Family members said Cuanas was like a stepdad to Alexa.
According to the SHP, Cuanas was driving a 2004 Nissan passenger vehicle with four passengers. Those passengers were Mariam Augilar, 26; Augilar’s daughter, Joselyn Augilar, 9; and Joselyn and Alexa’s cousin, Maria Gabrel, 11.
Kearns said the mother and the three children were in the backseat and not wearing seatbelts. The four were transported to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center with nonlife-threatening injuries.
Cuanas and a driver of a 2012 Chevy pickup, Michael Watkins, 59, of Greensboro, were not injured. Kearns said Cuanas and Watkins – both wearing seatbelts – were each traveling north on I-85.
The spokeswoman said Cuanas told troopers he fell asleep. Kearns said Watkins’ vehicle struck Cuanas’ car in the rear. Both vehicles came to a stop in the roadway facing north.
Other charges haven’t been issued as of Tuesday. However, the wreck investigation is still ongoing, according to the SHP.
Family members said Cuanas, the mother and children were coming back from a party in Salisbury. Saturday, family members attended the baptisms of Alexa and her brother, Pedro Augilar, 7, at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Lexington. Pedro Augilar was not in the vehicle Sunday morning.
Court documents stated that there was a strong odor of alcohol coming from Cuanas’ breath. Troopers reported on the document that Cuanas had a poor field sobriety test. According to court records, investigators are awaiting the blood test results, which are being examined at a lab to determine Cuanas’ blood alcohol level.
*It should be noted that while Cuanas has been released, pending further charges, court records indicate that an ICE Hold was placed against him after arrests in both 2013 (in Forsyth County, NC ) and 2014 (in York County, SC).
Via The Dispatch