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News >  Crime/Public Safety

19-year-old accused of killing teen passenger in drunken-driving crash

May 19, 2022 Updated Thu., May 19, 2022 at 8:51 p.m.

A 19-year-old Spokane man is accused of killing his 19-year-old friend in a drunken-driving crash earlier this month in northeast Spokane.

Joshua A. Aguirre was charged with vehicular homicide and hit-and-run after he allegedly struck one vehicle and then sped off before rolling a gray 2018 Volkswagen Jetta in the area of Upriver Drive and Upriver Bend Lane, according to court documents.

Jose Rubio Valencia was a passenger in the Jetta. He died from “blunt force injuries of the head and torso,” according to the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Aguirre told police he drank five Twisted Teas, two shots of Fireball and took four “dabs,” or cannabis oil, the night of May 6 before going to bed.

He said he woke up around 8:30 a.m. the next day, and he and Valencia decided to get breakfast in Spokane Valley, documents said.

Aguirre told police he rear-ended a vehicle on Argonne Road on his way to breakfast. He said he did not stop after the crash and then drove west on Upriver Drive at 55 to 65 mph before losing control of the Jetta, documents said. One witness estimated the Jetta traveled 70 to 100 mph, according to documents.

The witness told police the driver lost control of the car on a curve and struck a tree on the side of the road. The Jetta then rolled several times, the witness said.

Another witness confirmed Aguirre’s story, telling police the Jetta struck her vehicle on Argonne and East Bigelow Gulch roads prior to the fatal crash. She said the Jetta left the scene south on Argonne Road, and she followed the Jetta on Argonne and then Upriver Drive, documents said.

The witness told police she heard Aguirre on the phone after the fatal crash say, “We were going to Denny’s, I wasn’t driving.” She said she made eye contact with Aguirre and glared at him, according to court records.

She then heard Aguirre say, “I was driving; I killed my friend, mom.”

Aguirre told police Valencia was not wearing a seat belt. Police found alcohol and marijuana in the car.

A preliminary breath test showed Aguirre’s blood alcohol level at 0.106, above the 0.08 legal limit in Washington, around 11:40 a.m. May 7, according to documents.

Court documents say Aguirre was on a medical stretcher with a neck brace at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center after the crash.

Aguirre is scheduled for trial Aug. 8 before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tony Hazel. Aguirre is not listed as an inmate in the Spokane County Jail.

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