A California woman has been charged with a hate crime after trying to run over a Black traffic flagman while yelling racial slurs.
According to the Atlanta Black Star, 33-year-old Martina Marie Garcia was taken into custody on March 30 for driving under the influence of alcohol and assault with a deadly weapon. On Friday (April 2), an additional hate crime charge was added against the woman.
Mike Ramsey, Butte County District Attorney, 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.”
A Black flagman was holding a sign that read, “Slow” while Garcia, whose brother was also in the vehicle, sped through the work zone. She was drinking a beer and made an obscene gesture at the worker. The woman then drove through the area a second time from the opposite direction. At that point, the worker was holding up a sign that read, “Stop.”
Workers said Garcia reportedly drove toward the Black flagman at 50-60 mph while yelling racial slurs. After this encounter, another worker called 911 and followed Garcia to her home.
Once police arrived, Garcia was arrested and charged with DUI and assault. Antonio Burgos, her brother, was also arrested and charged for violating his parole by drinking. The hate crime was added after “police reports came in and it appeared the assault was motived by hate directed at a minority.”
Garcia was released from jail on $55,000 bond. If she is found guilty of DUI and assault, she could face up to four years in prison. If the woman is convicted of the hate crime, she could face up to an additional three years behind bars.