A gun-toting felon was fleeing police with his SUV’s headlights off after dark in a north Minneapolis neighborhood when he fatally struck a pregnant teenager who vainly sought safety on a curb from the suspect’s vehicle, according to felony charges.
Howard W. Amos, 36, was charged last week in Hennepin County District Court with fleeing police in a motor vehicle resulting in a death and robbery in connection with running over Diana I. Garcia-Alvarado, 16, of Phoenix, on Sept. 2.
Amos was arrested and is now jailed in Ramsey County in an earlier incidence of fleeing police. Court and jail records list him as living in Minneapolis, while the Minneapolis police report notes that he lives in Mapleton, Ga.
“This case is so sad because police were trying to pull Mr. Amos over because they knew his speeding in a residential area could cause just this kind of tragedy,” County Attorney Mike Freeman said in announcing the charges. “Worse, Ms. Garcia-Alvarado had reached the safety of the other curb, but Mr. Amos’ inability to control his vehicle [sent] the SUV into that normally safe area, taking a young life.”
According to the criminal complaint:
Shortly before 10 p.m., police spotted Amos’ SUV speeding over the center median at 33rd Avenue North and then speeding north on Emerson Avenue.
Police turned on their squad lights and sirens in hopes that he would pull over. Instead, Amos accelerated to 55-60 miles per hour in the residential neighborhood and ran a stop sign at 34th Avenue.
Garcia-Alvarado’s boyfriend told police that the couple had walked to a store for milk and were heading home when they heard the sirens and saw a vehicle with its lights off coming toward them as they stood on the grassy median of the roundabout at 36th and Emerson.
Garcia-Alvarado panicked, broke free of her boyfriend’s clutches and ran across the street, making it to the far curb. Amos’ black SUV hit the roundabout and struck Garcia-Alvarado and numerous parked cars.
Amos got out of the SUV and ran toward Fremont Avenue with an officer in pursuit. The officer caught Amos as he was inside a car with three women and two children, trying to pull off an apparent carjacking of a vehicle with the engine running. Police pulled him out of the car and arrested him.
Garcia-Alvarado was taken to the hospital, paralyzed from the neck down, where she died a short time later. Doctors also reported that she was about 12 weeks pregnant, far short of the possibility that the fetus could survive.
Police, suspecting that Amos was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, took a blood sample him. Test results are pending.
Police recovered a handgun from Amos’ SUV and DNA testing is underway to determine whether it is his. Because of a burglary conviction in Hennepin County, Amos is prohibited from possessing a gun. He also has other cases pending in the Twin Cities for third degree burglary and possession of stolen property.