EXCLUSIVE: Girl, 15, charged with fatal high-speed hit-and-run crash in Green Bay

The Green Bay girl is charged as an adult with 1st Degree Reckless Homicide as the mother of one of her passengers plans for his funeral.
Updated: Nov. 1, 2022 at 10:00 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Police have a suspect in custody who they believe was the driver in the hit-and-run crash in Green Bay that killed a 17-year-old boy.

Action 2 News was in court Tuesday afternoon as a 15-year-old girl was charged as an adult with 1st Degree Reckless Homicide, Hit and Run, and Taking and Driving a Vehicle Without the Owner’s Consent.

The girl, from Green Bay, was held on a $100,000 cash bond. We are not identifying her because there’s a chance the case could get sent down to juvenile court. Her next appearance before a judge is Nov. 9.

The criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News provides new details about the crash that happened Sunday night at the intersection of W. Mason and Oneida streets. The suspect’s Toyota Corolla was speeding between 116.5 MPH and 123.4 MPH, in a 35 zone, according to calculations by a member of the Green Bay Police Department’s traffic crash reconstruction unit based on security videos from businesses at the corners of that intersection.

The eastbound Corolla hit a gray sedan in the intersection and then crashed head-on into a westbound car stopped at the traffic light.

The driver of the gray sedan told police he had a green light to turn onto Mason St. from Oneida St. He didn’t see any traffic when he proceeded into the intersection and suddenly a car crashed into the front of his. He said vehicles headed east on W. Mason St. were stopped for a red light, so he believed the car swerved into the left turn lane of the eastbound lanes to avoid them.

The driver of the westbound car said he saw the gray sedan pulling out from Oneida Street, and he saw a light-colored sedan coming very fast down Mason St. with no intention of stopping for the red light. He honked his horn as a warning. The Corolla swerved to avoid the gray sedan and crashed into him head-on. He said he climbed out through the window and attended to his wife and they moved away from the car because it was smoking.

After the head-on collision, the Corolla spun around twice and came to rest down the block. Witnesses said they saw a group of teens get out of the Corolla and leave in another vehicle, but a passenger in the seat behind the driver was hanging out of the door. One bystander said he had a weak pulse. Another started CPR. The passenger, 17-year-old Cruz Beltran, was pronounced dead at the hospital 40 minutes after the first 911 call.

The car left at the scene led police to the girl’s mother, who realized her car was missing about an hour before the crash. She said her daughter took her car without her permission. Officers caught up with her daughter the next day when she was treated at a hospital for a broken arm.

The 15-year-old denied she was racing another car or that she had used drugs or alcohol. Asked why she didn’t stay at the crash scene, the girl said she was scared.

Cruz’s mother spoke only to Action 2 News Tuesday afternoon. We learned that Cruz and his mom had a lot of hopes and dreams that have now been cut short.

Cruz was a high school senior in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He was in Green Bay visiting family and friends.

His mother, Michelle Saldana, told Action 2 News that Cruz was a confident kid. In her words, “He didn’t play.”

He was shaped by his 11 siblings and a good son who liked rap music. In school, one branch of science was his specialty. ”Biologist is what he always loved to study. Plants and animals! His little turtle’s waiting for him. A little turtle. Oh, he knew all about the sea, and the trees. My son was a good boy. I just let him go at the wrong time,” Saldana said.

Saldana said Cruz will have all the best at his funeral thanks to everyone who donated to a GoFundMe page.