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Yucca Valley Man Accused in Fatal DUI Palm Springs Crash to Stand Trial for Murder

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Palm Springs, CA -

A Yucca Valley man accused of triggering a collision in Palm Springs while high on drugs, killing one of his passengers and injuring three other people, must stand trial on charges of murder and DUI causing injury, a judge ruled today.

Robert Garcia Jr., 51, also faces sentence-enhancing allegations of causing bodily injury to multiple victims in connection with the Jan. 30 crash near the intersection of Amado Road and Sunrise Way.

The crash killed Garcia's front-seat passenger, 39-year-old Yucca Valley resident Keyon Parks, while a back-seat passenger was seriously injured.

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According to police, Garcia turned left onto Amado Road from Sunrise Way -- directly into the path of an oncoming SUV that struck the passenger side of his car. The SUV's driver and a passenger suffered moderate injuries, police reported.

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Palm Springs police Officer Eric Christiansen testified that Garcia admitted taking Tramadol, a painkiller, and smoking marijuana. Marijuana and pipes were also found inside Garcia's car, which was stipulated by both attorneys to have no mechanical issues at the time of the crash.

Christiansen also testified that Garcia performed poorly on several field sobriety tests and exhibited droopy eyelids, constricted pupils, slurred
speech and other indications of intoxication. Garcia told Christiansen that he was lost, but could not clearly state what his destination was, according to the officer.

Garcia, who's being held on $1 million bail, is set to return to Indio's Larson Justice Center June 27 for a post-preliminary hearing arraignment.

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