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Forum Communications Co., Published December 31 2010

Man pleads guilty to Grand Forks double-fatal crash

A man pleaded guilty Thursday to killing two young people and injuring two others while he was driving drunk and fleeing from police in Grand Forks.

Celso Garza, 25, is set to be sentenced March 2 in state District Court on two counts of homicide while fleeing an officer, two counts of assault while fleeing an officer and a charge of driving under the influence.

Garza faces a maximum of 60 years and one month in prison.

Early June 5, a University of North Dakota police officer stopped Garza at Columbia Road and University Avenue for running a red light. As the officer approached Garza’s vehicle, Garza sped south on Columbia. The officer who pursued Garza estimated his squad car reached speeds of about 90 mph during the chase.

At Columbia and 17th Avenue South, about a mile from where Garza was pulled over, his 1995 Chevrolet Lumina broadsided a 2009 Pontiac G6 that had a green light as it was turning onto Columbia, authorities said.

Olson’s passengers – James Freestone, 21, and Tasha Brenno, 19 – were killed as a result of the crash.