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Man pleads guilty in bus stop crash that killed grandmother, 6-year-old

A 20-year-old man pleaded guilty Tuesday to driving under the influence of drugs in a bus stop crash that killed a 6-year-old girl and her grandmother.

Prosecutors said Leonardo Ruesga was high on marijuana and methamphetamine on March 30 when he crashed into a bus stop near the intersection of Sahara Avenue and Maryland Parkway, killing 58-year-old Maria Garcia and her granddaughter, Alyssa Aisa.

Ruesga faces between 12 and 40 years in prison on two counts of DUI resulting in death.

“We’re pleased he took responsibility for his actions, and he’ll be going to prison for quite a long time,” prosecutor Brian Rutledge said.

Ruesga, who tested positive for the drugs, told police he had smoked marijuana about an hour before the crash, but he did not tell authorities about the methamphetamine, Rutledge said.

Ruesga also said another vehicle cut him off and he lost control of his silver 2005 Volvo S60 before hitting the girl and her grandmother. Leah Villa, 18 months old, was hurt, but has since been released from the hospital, police said.

Police found Ruesga and a 15-year-old female passenger, who was not identified, hiding in the bedroom closet of a second-story apartment at 713 E. Sahara Ave., about a half-mile from the bus stop where the crash happened.

Ruesga then said he was driving his friend’s car to Smith’s grocery store at Sahara and Maryland when a black Honda cut him off and “brake checked” him. He slammed on the brakes but couldn’t stop and had nowhere to go, Ruesga told police.

Authorities said no witnesses reported seeing Ruesga’s car cut off by another vehicle.

Contact reporter David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker

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