PARADISE, Calif. - 33-year-old Martina Marie Garcia of Paradise is being charged with a hate crime in addition to DUI and assault charges stemming from a Mar. 30, 2021 incident, Butte County District Attorney Michael Ramsey said on Saturday.
Garcia made “racially derogatory slurs as she drove her vehicle toward an African American traffic flagger,” according to Ramsey.
The D.A. said Garcia is “alleged to have driven her Ford Explorer SUV north through a traffic-controlled work zone in the 5500 block of Scottwood Road in Paradise at approximately 40-50 miles per hour while workers were present trying to clear trees.” Ramsey said the area has a speed limit of 25 mph.
Ramsey said the traffic control flagger was holding a “slow” sign as Garcia sped through the work zone “with a beer to her mouth” while “making an obscene gesture.” Ramsey said other workers saw a passenger in the front seat making a similar gesture. That man, said Ramsey, was later identified as Garcia’s brother.
The District Attorney explained that workers have claimed that Garcia returned a few minutes later driving the other direction in the same vehicle. He said this time the flagger was holding a “stop” sign.
Ramsey said the flagger had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck by Garcia as workers claim she accelerated to 50-60 mph and swerved her vehicle at the flagger, all while yelling racial epithets at him.
The D.A. said another member of the work crew called 9-1-1 and then followed Garcia to her home. He said Paradise police arrived and arrested Garcia for driving under the influence and assault.
Ramsey said Garcia’s brother, 43-year-old Antonia Burgos, was arrested for being drunk in public and for violating his parole, which involved alcohol use.
The D.A. added the hate crime allegation after “police reports came in and it appeared the assault was motived by hate directed at a minority.”
Ramsey explained that if Garcia is found guilty of the hate crime allegation an additional three years of state prison time could be added to her sentence.
She faces up to four years of state prison time for the assault without the hate crime allegation, he explained.
Garcia was arraigned in Butte County Superior Court on Friday and will return again on April 7, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. for further arraignment and entry of her plea. Ramsey said she was released on $55,000 bail.