Tulsa Police Identify Woman Killed In Arkansas River Crash; Driver Turns Himself In

Update: Tulsa Police said the driver of a car who crashed into the Arkansas River has turned himself in. Police said they recovered the body of one passenger Tuesday and the other passenger remains in critical condition.

Tuesday, March 30th 2021, 6:25 pm



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Update: Tulsa Police said the driver of a car who crashed into the Arkansas River has turned himself in. Police said they recovered the body of one passenger Tuesday and the other passenger remains in critical condition.

Officers found Nathaly Medina's body very close to the river's edge where the car crashed into the water after a police chase.

Related Story: Police Search Arkansas River For 3rd Person After Chase Ends With Crash

Officers said Monday's current was too strong for the dive team to go out, so they had to wait until Tuesday to search for her.

Officers said even though they expected to find the victim, it's still gut-wrenching. 

“To lose your life at 19; that’s absolutely tragic. She’s still beginning life. She just became an adult. She’s about to celebrate her 20th birthday, and this is it. She’s not going to get that," said Tulsa Police Captain Richard Meulenberg.

Captain Meulenberg said Medina was a passenger inside the car when officers tried to pull over the driver for reckless driving. 

“He could have stopped when the officer turned his lights on at 61st and Peoria and he chose not to," said Captain Meulenberg.

He said the driver, Jose Lara-Garcia, crashed into several poles then went into the Arkansas River.

An officer jumped out of his patrol car and got the front seat passenger to safety. They said Lara-Garcia didn't have any visible injuries and eventually told officers there was a second passenger in the car. 

“Everything could have been the difference; you never know what could happen. We did have some difficulty getting information from the suspect at the time. He did eventually tell us he thought there was a person in the backseat. But it was very sketchy information at best. So, we still conducted our search as if there was someone in the backseat," said Captain Meulenberg.

He said Lara-Garcia was questioned by officers, but they didn't have enough evidence at the time to hold him; so he was released. 

"When we had him in custody, all we had was eluding at the time. So, since the investigation continued because one person is still in critical condition and not deceased and the other person was unknown, we were conducting our investigation," said Captain Meulenberg.

Police said finding Medina's body will mean a manslaughter charge for Lara-Garcia.



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