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Man sentenced for fatal crash caused while driving 87 mph in 45 mph zone
Leonardo Venegas-Cruz

A Lawrenceville man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a November 2020 fatal crash where he was accused of driving almost twice the speed limit on a slick McEver Road, according to court documents.

Leonardo Venegas-Cruz, 30, pleaded guilty April 6 to first-degree vehicular homicide among other charges from the Nov. 25, 2020, crash. 

The wreck killed Sophia Garcia, 19, of Sugar Hill, and damaged the spine and femur of Venegas-Cruz’s passenger, Dawson Ramsey Davis, 19, of Flowery Branch.

Georgia State Patrol said Venegas-Cruz’s Toyota Corolla hit Garcia’s Volkswagen Jetta head-on around 8:50 p.m. Nov. 25, 2020, on McEver Road north of Lake Run Drive. 

Venegas-Cruz was accused in the indictment of driving 87 mph on McEver Road, where the speed limit is 45 mph, while above the legal blood alcohol level.

He also pleaded guilty to serious injury by vehicle, reckless driving and failure to maintain lane.

Superior Court Judge Bonnie Oliver gave Venegas-Cruz a 15-year sentence, with the first 10 years to be served in prison and the remainder on probation.

Oliver also allowed for credit for previous time served. Defense attorney William Matos said Venegas-Cruz had served about two to three months already on these charges.

Oliver wrote that Venegas-Cruz would serve his time in custody prior to his possible deportation. If Venegas-Cruz is deported and reenters the country, Oliver said that would constitute a violation of his probation.

Matos said it was a sad case involving a handful of young lives.

“There’s no winners and losers here,” Matos said. “It’s total losses for both families. It’s definitely one of the toughest cases I’ve had to deal with.”