Man charged with murder in fiery crash with taxi
Anchorage police have arrested a man on murder charges in an October crash that left an Anchorage taxi driver dead, according to a statement from the department Tuesday.
José A. Ibarra, 25, faces charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter, operating under the influence and driving with license suspended, in the Oct. 14 wreck at Old Seward Highway and 79th Avenue that killed 68-year-old Bruce L. Orton.
Police say there were both alcohol and marijuana in Ibarra's system when the crash happened.
“Initial indications are that a red Mitsubishi Mirage was heading southbound on the Old Seward highway when it T-boned a cab driver who had pulled out from 79th Avenue (traveling eastbound to turn northbound),” police wrote at the time. “The adult male driver, who was the sole occupant of the Ford Crown Vic taxi, was declared deceased at the scene.”
Officers contacted and arrested Ibarra on Tuesday when they were responding to a suspicious vehicle call near Parsons Avenue and Price Street.
In a bail memorandum regarding Ibarra, prosecutors include firsthand accounts of the fatal crash from those who saw it.
"Witnesses described Mr. Ibarra as driving southbound at a high rate of speed with his headlights off despite the late hour and dark skies," prosecutors wrote. "Mr. Orton, in the driver's seat, was killed by the collision."
Shortly after the crash, Ibarra allegedly admitted to using marijuana. Investigators found that Ibarra's blood alcohol content shortly after the crash, at 2:21 a.m., was .101, slightly over Alaska's legal limit for driving of .08.
"Mr. Ibarra admitted to medical staff that he used heroin at 4 p.m.," prosecutors wrote. "Records also document that Mr. Ibarra received opiates as part of his medical treatment."
Prosecutors also discussed Ibarra's driving record, which includes various moving violations and a guilty plea to reckless driving.
"In total Mr. Ibarra's driving history, as documented by the Alaska Public Safely Information Network, is rather abysmal and demonstrates a clear disregard for obeying any of the rules society places upon drivers," prosecutors wrote.
Ibarra is being held at the Anchorage jail on $50,000 bail, the amount requested by the state. If he makes bail, he'll be subject to Pretrial Enforcement Division monitoring and 24/7 house arrest.
Editor's note: An inaccurate description of Jose Ibarra's driving record has been corrected.
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