Driver pleads guilty in crash that killed two

A Marshalltown man who crashed an SUV into Linn Creek last fall, killing an infant and a 20-year-old man, faces up to 60 years in prison after pleading guilty to charges on Tuesday.

Armando Chavarria, 23, was charged following the Nov. 1, 2012 crash at 13th Avenue and East State Street. He pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of serious injury by vehicle.

Judge James Ellefson accepted the guilty pleas and said he will schedule a sentencing hearing to occur in approximately six weeks.

Police said the crash occurred when Chavarria was driving an SUV with six passengers at a high speed. He veered the vehicle from the road and it flipped on its side into Linn Creek just before 2 a.m. Killed in the accident was 4-month-old Dylan Quezada and 20-year-old Chendo Quezada.

The infant, who was not strapped into a car seat, was ejected from the vehicle and later died from injuries, said Assistant Marshall County Attorney Paul Crawford.

Chendo Quezada was also ejected from the vehicle and drowned in Linn Creek, Crawford said.

Chavarria said Tuesday the crash occurred following an evening of trick or treating and drinking. Chavarria admitted he drank six to eight shots of tequila prior to the crash. Test results show his blood alcohol content was .201, Crawford said.

Two other children were also involved in the crash, Yara Hernandez-Nunez, 5, and Nancy Nunez, 17. Crawford said Hernandez-Nunez suffered a broken ankle and Nunez suffered a fractured neck, for which Chavarria is charged with two counts of serious injury by vehicle.

Police said Gabriela Nunez-Lasso, Chavarria’s girlfriend and mother of the infant, was also in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

Online court records show Chavarria has a history of traffic violations including at least three charges of driving while revoked and multiple speeding violations. He was arrested with a first-offense OWI in October 2011.

Vehicular homicide is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 25 year in prison. Serious injury by vehicle is a Class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Crawford said as part of a plea agreement the state dropped two counts of death by reckless driving and would recommend at sentencing that Chavarria serve 55 years in prison.