An Asheville man was charged with DWI and felony hit-and-run Sunday after crashing his car into a guardrail on U.S. Highway 25, which killed a passenger in the vehicle, then abandoning the car nearly 11 miles later on I-26.
Angel L. Diaz, 40, lost control of a blue 1992 Toyota Camry he was driving around 6 a.m. Sunday and struck the end of a guardrail on Highway 25 near the Green River Road exit, said Trooper J.A. Nix of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
But Diaz kept driving the crumpled vehicle another 10.8 miles until it came to rest on I-26 near the Upward Road overpass. There, Diaz abandoned the car and escaped on foot, leaving the deceased passenger, Luiz Angel Ruiz, 28, of Asheville still in the passenger seat, Nix said.
“I believe the vehicle couldn’t go any further, but I can’t tell you why he finally stopped,” Nix said.
When Nix drove up on the wrecked Camry around 6:40 a.m., “at first I didn’t think there was anybody with it and then I discovered the passenger. He was dead.”
Nix said the car appeared to have damage such as would occur in a “T-bone collision. Both the front and rear passenger doors were caved in.”
He said Ruiz, who was still buckled in the front passenger seat, “seemed to have suffered internal injuries.
“Henderson County EMS, the Henderson County Rescue Squad and Blue Ridge Fire and Rescue responded to a pin-in call at 6:50 a.m. Nix explained that the Camry’s damage appeared to have pushed the doors in on Ruiz’s body.
After leaving the scene, Diaz called someone to pick him up, Nix said. Deputies with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office stopped his getaway vehicle on Tracy Grove Road and Nix placed Diaz under arrest around 9:30 a.m.