A California woman who was driving an off-road vehicle on St. Croix told police she’d been drinking alcohol and believed she was in the correct lane when she crashed into a motorcycle head on, killing 55-year-old Richard M. Boehm of Cane Bay, according to documents filed in V.I. Superior Court.
Azalea Fierros, 23, of Arleta, Calif., was arrested and charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment, speeding, and operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license, according to the probable cause fact sheet filed by police. Bail was set at $25,000, and she was released after posting $2,500 cash.
The crash occurred on Aug. 18 at around 8:37 p.m. on East End Road in the area of Sharkey’s Bait Stand. Investigators determined that Fierros was traveling east, while Boehm was going west, and both vehicles collided head-on in the westbound lane.
When police arrived, they found Boehm lying dead in the road with a white helmet “still on his head, but badly damaged by impact,” according to the fact sheet, and his battered motorcycle had partially burned.
Fierros had been driving a Polaris Ranger 900 all-terrain vehicle, which sustained major damage in the crash, and police towed and impounded both the ATV and the motorcycle.
Fierros and a passenger were taken to Luis Hospital for treatment of minor injuries, where police interviewed them about the crash.
Fierros told investigators she had arrived on St. Croix the previous day with her boyfriend and “is new to the island,” according to the fact sheet. Her boyfriend allowed her to drive the ATV “because he was drinking,” and Fierros told police she “had consumed an alcoholic beverage earlier in the day.”
A police sergeant also went to Plaza Extra East and reviewed surveillance footage that showed her boyfriend “leaving the store with a six pack of beers,” according to the fact sheet, and the boyfriend told investigators that Fierros “was drinking, but not a lot.”
Fierros said she was “traveling on the highway in her right lane on East End Road when she saw a motorcycle that was traveling in the opposite direction (westbound) in her lane,” according to the fact sheet. “Ms. Fierros continued by stating that she was in her right lane, even though I advised her that we drive on the left-hand side of the road, she insisted that she was in her right lane.”
The investigating officer wrote that “Ms. Fierros believes she was driving in her right lane as she is accustomed to driving on the right-hand side of the road.”