One dead, another arrested in apparent road rage incident
A Reno man was killed and another arrested on Sunday, in what authorities say might be the first fatal road rage incident of its kind in the area.
Matthew Neil Marbach, 31, of Reno, is facing multiple felony charges for his alleged involvement in an Interstate 80 automobile accident near the state line that killed Raymond Garcia, 53, and injured his wife, 51-year-old Susan Garcia.
According to Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Fred Holmes, charges include: one count of felony vehicular manslaughter, one count of felony hit and run, two counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon (that weapon being an automobile), and one misdemeanor count of reckless driving resulting in bodily injury.
The alleged deadly incident began shortly before 2 p.m., when for reasons unknown, the two drivers reportedly became involved in what authorities have dubbed a “mutual combat situation,” while heading westbound on Interstate 80 near the state line.
Witnesses say the two men began taking turns swerving toward each other for about five miles along westbound I-80 in heavy traffic, said California Highway Patrol Officer Kirk Bromell.
The crash occurred three miles west of the California-Nevada state line, just past the Farad under-crossing, when Marbach swerved for the last time and struck Garcia’s vehicle, causing him to lose control, the CHP reports states.
Garcia was killed instantly after his 1987 Isuzu pickup plunged over the side of the road into a drainage ditch filled with boulders.
Garcia’s wife, a passenger in the car, sustained minor injuries and was treated and released after being transported in a neck brace to Washoe Medical Center in Reno.
Meanwhile, Marbach, who was on his way to Grass Valley, returned to his home in Reno after the incident, Bromell said.
“We didn’t even hear about the incident until a little while after it had happened, but thanks to witnesses, we were able to get a good description of the vehicle, a license plate number, as well as a good physical description of the suspect,” Bromell said.
Less than three hours after the crash, Marbach was taken into custody in Washoe County without incident.
Although authorities say the incident was one of “mutual combat,” throughout the week, Mrs. Garcia has continued to insist that Marbach was the aggressor, who even went so far as to laugh at her and her husband before speeding away after the crash.
“My husband was a good man,” Garcia told the Reno-Gazette Journal on Monday. “[Marbach] killed my husband. He should not just get a slap on the wrist. He should be held accountable for the killing of my husband.”
If convicted, Marbach could face as many as six years in prison, Holmes said.
“At this point, we’ve obtained a warrant for Marbach’s arrest and are currently in the middle of the extradition process – attempting to get him back here as soon as possible,” Holmes said. “Nevada is always quick to act in these situations and I expect we should have him here sometime next week for an arraignment.”
Bail has been set at $50,000.
Associated Press contributed to this story.
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