Victim’s sister: Cousin ‘panicked’ before chase, crash

Alex Torrez convicted of murder in crash that killed teen cousin and college student

David Torrez
David Torrez's urn at his family's Grand Rapids home. (Dec. 10, 2017)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The sister of a teen who was killed when a high-speed police chase ended in a violent crash earlier this year says the loss has been excruciating for her family.

Alex Torrez, 17, was convicted last week of second-degree murder in the crash that killed his cousin, 15-year-old David Torrez, and Calvin College student Tara Oskam.

David’s sister, Kiana Torrez, spoke only with WOOD TV8 exclusively Sunday night, wanting to honor him. She said there hasn’t been much focus on her brother.

“If David was here right now, I would just hug my brother,” Kiana Torrez, 19, said. “He wasn’t just my little brother, that was my best friend.”

She said David wanted to be a professional soccer player and he loved being with his family and friends.

Alex Torrez
Photo: Alex Torrez weeps after he was found guilty. (Dec. 8, 2017)

Kiana Torrez said the details of the night her little brother died stick with her.

“The cop went to my mom’s house to tell her. I remember hearing my mom yell and scream she wanted her baby,” Kiana Torrez said.

On the night of March 11, an MSP trooper spotted a car speeding on US-131 and attempted a traffic stop. The car, which then-16-year-old Alex Torrez was driving even though he was not licensed, got off the highway and led the trooper on an about seven-mile chase over the course of five minutes. Alex Torrez was driving faster than 100 mph when he ran a red light in Kentwood and smashed into Oskam’s car. During Alex Torrez’s murder trial last week, officers who responded to the scene called the crash the worst they had ever seen.

“I know if they could both go back and redo it, Alex would’ve stopped. But them being boys and how they were, Alex panicked, my brother panicked,” Kiana Torrez said.

When asked how she felt when the guilty verdict against her cousin was announced Friday, Kiana Torrez replied, “There’s nothing I could feel.”

“I feel bad for Alex but I lost the only person that really cared,” she continued.

David’s presence is still felt in his family’s Grand Rapids home as they spend their first Christmas without him. His ashes sit next to the front door near the Christmas tree. The family says the tragedy has brought them closer together.

Alex Torrez will be sentenced Jan. 9. He could spend up to 31 years in prison.