Jesus Cabrera-Molina admits he was drunk and high on cocaine the night his SUV struck and killed Phoenix Police Officer Daryl Raetz, but he denies he was behind the wheel, according to court documents obtained by New Times.
Phoenix police have been fairly mum about the reasoning behind Molina finally being charged with manslaughter, more than two weeks after the fatal hit-and-run, but court documents reveal the details police found that tied Molina was to the crash. He was seen on surveillance footage in the drive-thru of a liquor store.
Officer Raetz and his partner were finishing up at the scene of a DUI stop around 3:30 a.m. on May 19 near 51st Avenue and Cambridge (south of Thomas) when Raetz was struck by a vehicle.
The driver who hit Raetz proceeded to drive away, and Raetz, just 29 years old, died after being transported to a hospital.
A cop checking the speed of passing motorists in Surprise spotted the SUV Phoenix cops were looking for a little after 1 p.m. that day, being driven by Molina.
Parts recovered from the crime scene matched parts missing from Molina's SUV, according to court documents.
The officer who pulled over Molina also found a bag of cocaine on him, which has allowed police to keep Molina in custody without being able to charge him in Raetz's death.
According to new court documents filed by police, Molina admitted to being drunk and doing a little cocaine the night of Raetz's death, but he claimed he was in bed by midnight -- well before 3:30 a.m., when Molina's SUV hit Raetz. He claimed his SUV got damaged months ago, when he was off-roading and hit a tree.
Molina's SUV definitely hit Raetz, as DNA from blood on the undercarriage matches Raetz's, according to the documents.
Furthermore, "several" of Molina's friends and associates told police they saw Molina drinking from around 4 p.m. until just minutes before the crash -- meaning Molina wasn't exactly tucked into bed by midnight.
One of Molina's pals, who lived blocks from the scene of the fatal collision, told police that Molina had been drinking at his place and that Molina left his house just minutes before the crash.
Detectives checked local businesses to see if they had any surveillance footage of Molina driving, and lo and behold, police saw that he drove through Camelback Liquor in his undamaged SUV a little before 2 a.m.
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"This video clearly shows Molina driving and clearly shows there is no damage to the front of his Ford Expedition."
Confronted with this evidence Monday morning, Molina still denied being behind the wheel when his SUV struck Raetz.
Molina, who's in the country illegally, and was already being held without bond, is now charged with manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.