Teen charged as adult in deadly MSP chase crash

Alejandro “Alex” Benito Torrez in court via video for arraignment on March 30, 2017.


KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — A teen driver who led Michigan State Police on a chase that ended in a deadly crash in Kentwood has been charged as an adult.

Alejandro “Alex” Benito Torrez, 17, was officially charged Thursday with two counts of second-degree murder in the March 11 crash that killed his cousin, 15-year-old David Torrez, and another driver, Calvin College student Tara Oskam.

Torrez is being held on a $1 million bond in the Kent County jail. He will be back in court on April 13 for a probable cause hearing.

Tara Oskam, David Torrez
Undated courtesy photos of Tara Oskam (left) and David Torrez.

Michigan State Police say a trooper tried to pull over Alex Torrez for speeding on US-131 when he drove off. Prosecutors say the chase reached speeds of 108 to 116 mph.

In court Thursday, the prosecution claimed that Torrez had alcohol and marijuana in his system.

MSP said the chase spanned five miles and lasted for about six minutes before the car Torrez was driving hit Oskam’s vehicle at 52nd Street and Broadmoor Avenue.

Oskam was on the phone with her roommate while heading home from a church euchre tournament when the fiery crash happened, according to her boyfriend.

Both Oskam and David Torrez died at the scene. First responders pulled Alex Torrez from the wreckage before the flames could reach him. He was taken to a hospital and transferred to the Kent County jail Monday to await charges.

State records show Alex Torrez did not have a valid driver’s license. In the approximate year he was eligible for a license, he was caught three times with an invalid or improper license, according to records.

Court records may give some clue as to why the chase occurred.

When Alex Torrez was 14, he pleaded guilty to receiving and concealing stolen jewelry. He was put on probation that included an electronic tether and staying away from the gang the Maniac Latin Disciples.

Within a year he was pleading again to being a felon in possession of brass knuckles and a knife and was made a ward of the court.

His 15-year-old cousin was AWOL from the Muskegon River Youth Home and he had pending cases of trespassing and breaking into a motor vehicle.

Members of the Torrez family were in court Thursday as relatives of both victim and suspect were in court. Where defense attorney James Kiebel argued that his client’s bond should be lowered in order for him to receive treatment for injuries suffered in the crash.

Tara Oskam’s family was also in the courtroom Thursday, but did not make a comment.

Torrez returns to court on April 13.