A man involved in a drag racing incident that resulted in a fatal crash and claimed the life of a 4-year-old boy has been found guilty of vehicular homicide and other charges, according to a press release from the Polk County Attorney’s office in Iowa.
Robert Lee Miller III, 35, was speeding at approximately 114 mph while engaged in a race on Fleur Drive in Des Moines on December 13, 2022, when he crossed the median and collided with a car driven by Marya De Catalan, as stated in the press release.
De Catalan, her son Thiago, and her nephew Marcos Faguada were transported to the hospital following the crash. Tragically, 4-year-old Faguada later succumbed to his injuries and passed away.
Miller was convicted by a jury on charges of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, vehicular homicide by reckless driving, and vehicular homicide by drag racing, resulting in Faguada’s death. Additionally, he faces charges related to the serious injuries inflicted on De Catalan, according to the Polk County Attorney’s office.
Prosecutors argued that Miller and another individual, Keith Eric Jones, had consumed alcohol and recklessly ventured onto the road “without any regard to anyone else.” However, Miller’s defense attorneys contended that there was insufficient evidence to support the charges against him. They cited testimony from a bartender who claimed that Miller did not appear impaired when he left the bar prior to driving.
The defense also proposed that another factor, possibly a man with a baseball bat near the scene, caused Faguada’s death and De Catalan’s injuries. Prosecutors refuted this claim by presenting testimony from the medical examiner, who stated that Marcos’ injuries were consistent with a car crash.
Family members set up a GoFundMe campaign to support Faguada’s family and fondly remembered him as a loving, funny, and beautiful soul.
Miller is scheduled to be sentenced on July 14. Vehicular homicide while operating a vehicle while intoxicated carries a mandatory prison sentence of up to 25 years, as outlined by the Polk County Attorney’s office. His co-defendant, Jones, who also faces charges of vehicular homicide and others, will stand trial on June 26.