Driver told police he consumed beer, cocaine before double fatal crash

South Bend, Ind. The driver in a Dec. 8 accident that killed two in South Bend is now facing felony charges.

26-year-old Jose Diaz faces two counts of operating a vehicle with a controlled substance or metabolite in his body resulting in the death of another person.

Police say Diaz was behind the wheel of a Cadillac Dec. 8, travelling south bound on Ironwood. The Cadillac crossed the center line into the north bound lane, attempting to pass a truck. Diaz then swerved back into the south bound lane to avoid oncoming traffic, hitting the back of the truck in front of him.

Diaz's car then went off the road, struck a fire hydrant, hit and broke a utility pole, then hit a tree before coming to rest before a garage.

South Bend police found Diaz lying on the ground near the car when they arrived at the scene. A woman told police she'd been following Diaz home and they'd just left a party. They found several broken beer bottles at the scene of the crash.

Police also found three people trapped inside Diaz's car. 17-year-old Jonathan Hernandez was found dead in the backseat. 24-year-old Marco Espino was transported to the hospital, where he later died. Police say a third passenger, 22-year-old Manuel Ruiz, was treated for injuries at the hospital and released.

Diaz was also taken to the hospital in critical condition, where was questioned by police. According to charging documents, Diaz told police he had four beers and had used cocaine before the crash. Medical tests revealed Diaz had cocaine and THC in his body less than three hours after the crash.

Diaz was interviewed again on Jan 13 by police. At that time, he told them he had consumed three beers and done "four bumps" of cocaine before the crash.

Diaz was arrested and held on $60,000 bond. He posted bond and is no longer being held in the St. Joseph County Jail.

He'll appear in court Jan. 22.

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