Two charged in Cranston street-racing crash that injured three people

West Bay

NOTE: This story has been corrected to reflect that three, not four as previously stated, people were injured in the crash.

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Two men accused of causing a multi-car crash in Cranston Monday night are facing a series of charges for reportedly street racing, Cranston Police Chief Michael Winquist said Tuesday.

Jacob Gardner, 19, of Warwick, and George Rodriguez, 30, of Providence, have both been charged with driving to endanger, reckless driving, and drag racing.

Prosecutors allege the incident began with a case of road rage between the two men when Gardner tried to pass Rodriguez on Broad Street.

Surveillance video from a nearby business shows the two vehicles speeding and trying to pass one another prior to the crash.

“Reckless driving and excessive speed by Mr. Gardner and Rodriguez are the apparent causes of this crash,” Winquist said.

Winquist said as the two were rounding a curve when Rodriguez crashed into a car that was pulling into the roadway, causing Gardner to lose control of his vehicle.

Gardner’s vehicle slid across the roadway, struck the curb and rolled over, hitting a woman who was crossing the street after leaving a nearby business.

The woman, identified as a 37-year-old Smithfield resident, was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. Winquist said she remains hospitalized in serious, but stable, condition.

12 News later learned the woman is Natacha Legein, who was supposed to open her new business, Crepe Corner, in Pawtuxet Village on Tuesday. Crepe Corner announced via social media that it has since pushed back its opening as Legein recovers from her injuries.

Gardner and the driver of the vehicle Rodriguez hit were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Both Gardner and Rodriguez were arraigned Tuesday and bail for each was set at $5,000. Rodriguez was ordered held as a Superior Court violator in a separate case.

Winquist said the men will also face a series of traffic violations.

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