The man charged with the death of a CarMax salesman during a test drive in a Corvette is back in jail.
Alex Mark Demetro, 28, of Union City, Calif., had been a fugitive for three days when he was arrested March 18 in Rancho Cucamonga.
Demetro was immediately re-arraigned on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs, and driving on a suspended or revoked license – and promptly pleaded not guilty in court.
Witnesses say that Demetro was driving the Corvette on Feb. 23 at high speed, up to 70 mph, during the test drive when he lost control and crashed into a tree on Mercedes Drive, about a mile northeast of Ontario International Airport, killing the 43-year-old salesman on board with him, Warren Smale of Montclair.
Ontario police said Demetro was high on prescription drugs during the Corvette test drive and his license had been suspended for failing to appear in court on prior motor vehicle violations.
Demetro was out on $100,000 bail by the day after the crash and then failed to show up for a court date on March 15, ironically the same day his victim was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Covina. Demetro’s bail has been upped to $500,000 now.
Robert Soleto, a former CarMax salesman and a friend of Smale’s, told The Press Enterprise that reckless test drivers are rare but they’re among the greatest hazards faced by car salesmen.
“if a customer is driving recklessly, we order them to stop…and terminate the test drive,” Sotela told the newspaper hours after his friend’s funeral. “I’ve only terminated test drives twice (in more than a year). And I did two or three test drives daily, so that’s a pretty low number of terminations.”
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