A reckless driver whose actions while fleeing from the Guardia Civil led to the death of a well known Canarian musician, Miguel Estupiñán Díaz, on February 5, 2019 in Pasito Blanco has tried to suggest that it was the agents chasing him who caused him to lose control of the vehicle, invading the opposite lane and colliding with the victim.
The defendant, Evaristo José P. M., also known as El Platanito, testified yesterday before the judge, Mónica Oliva, at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Criminal Court number 2, saying that “I was driving from Vecindario heading to my children’s house in Arguineguín” and heading towards the highway, he saw a Guardia Civil traffic patrol coming in the opposite direction, while he “was driving normally.” Then, “they turned around, approached on the right side” he said. “They ordered me to stop and I stopped”. At that moment, says the accused, one of the Guardia Civil got out, “which if I’m not mistaken was a sergeant,” and took a look inside the car. Evaristo José says, he was then questioned by the agents asking about “where the drugs were.”
The defendant says that he assured them that he did not know what they were talking about and that he told them that he had no drugs, but that the agents “began to get nervous and aggressive” swearing at him and even threatening to kill him. When he saw the officer allegedly taking out his service weapon he says he “panicked”, fleeing the scene with the agents in pursuit.
The defendant Evaristo José PM, acknowledges having driven at more than 170 kilometres per hour during the chase, saying that his “intention was to stop where there were witnesses” saying he was afraid they would start to beat him up. He denies having manouvered his vehicle in such as way as to appear to be intending to drive into the Guardia Civil agents.
Evaristo claims that he was struck from behind by one of the Guardia Civil vehicles, during the pursuit on the GC-500 national road, which then slowed to avoid getting involved in the fatal crash. He also denies “on my children’s lives” having attacked or threatened the agents who moved to arrest him straight after the collision.
For their part the Guardia Civil agents have testified that they “never” collided with him but that it was he who had rammed them, laterally (from the side) causing them to lose control. When they caught up with him again, the fatal accident had already occurred and all they saw was the defendant trying to “run through the bushes.” Additionally the agents claim that, during the chase, they saw the defendant throw some packages out the window, leading to a separate charge for a crime against public health, added to charges for murder and injury.
The defendant is alleged to have caused the accident by dangerous driving, causing the death of the other driver, though he himself was only slightly injured, abandoning his car and then trying to flee the scene. Only a few minutes earlier, he is accused of having dodged a police checkpoint on the GC-1 highway, by feigning that he was attempting to run over the Guardia Civil agent who stopped him. Evidence collected at the scene indicates that he was carrying around four kilos of synthetic drugs, thought to be methamphetamine, in packages that, according to his pursuers, he was throwing out the window while driving at high speed, when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into the other car.
He is accused of drug trafficking, a serious crime to health, punishable with a prison term of 6 to 9 years and a fine, in addition to a crime of reckless driving and the crime of murder with eventual intent, punishable by prison terms of 12 and a half years to fifteen years, respectively. To these two charges is added a further charge of attacking authority, which carries a prison sentence of three to four and a half years. In the worst case, Evaristo PM, 44, could have been facing a maximum sentence of 28 years and six months were he found guilty of all the crimes he faces.
Evaristo José P. M has various previous convictions, including one for his involvement in the brutal murder of a man from Ceuta, who he had threatened in front of witnesses with a sawn off shot gun, in El Tablero back in 1999. It is clear therefore that the defendant is likely well known to the local police and Guardia Civil, and it seems it is that fact alone which he hopes will lend credibility to his claim that the crash was not his fault.
The Prosecutor’s Office has requested a sentence of eight and a half years in prison for the crimes of homicide by reckless driving, for serious recklessness and one for attacking an agent causing injuries. Idoia Mendizábal, who represents the musician’s relatives, requests eight years in jail for the crimes of homicide due to gross negligence, one of reckless driving and one of failing in the duty to help, at the scene of an accident. The defence has argued that despite the agents not wanting the accident to happen, when they allegedly collided with the defendant’s car, as though in a “movie chase”, that it was they who forced him off the road and “in a certain way manipulated the evidence”, and so has requested acquittal for the defendant. The judge will now consider her verdict before moving to sentencing.
Source: La Provincia