Judge Denies Pretrial Deal for Dodge Challenger Hellcat Driver Accused of 150+ MPH Highway Run
It's hard out there for a speeder.
What's a good place to take your Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and let all 707 horses run wild at 150 mph? Unsurprisingly and unfortunately for one 30-year-old Chicago man, the answer is not a public highway in Indiana, where a judge recently declined his petition for a deal to avoid a trial for allegedly doing exactly that, according to the Chicago Tribune.
We first highlighted the saga of Christopher Garza last April, when he was pulled over at 1:30 in the morning on I-90 by a very surprised Indiana State Trooper after getting clocked at 158 mph while passing through the city of Gary. Garza had recently purchased the Hellcat, and he reportedly told police that his friend and passenger was a wounded veteran who he was trying to cheer up with a quick thrill ride. He also said he thought the empty, straight highway was the safest place to do it. Don't buy it? Neither did the cops, who arrested him for reckless driving and towed the Challenger.
At the time, Garza told the Tribune that while he understood and accepted the consequences of his "very dumb" actions, all that mattered to him was whether he was able to take his "buddy's mind off of reality for a little bit." Curiously, he also said that he and his friend had taken the Hellcat to a racetrack before, begging the question why he didn't wait until their next session for a little catharsis.
"The moral of the story is I know the risk I take every time I decide to speed," he added. "This was the lesser of the consequences to suffer going such a high speed. I'm kind of fortunate that I learned my lesson through jail."
But in November, the Tribune reported that Garza missed a court date, and the case dragged on into this year. On July 30, Garza and his attorneys appeared in court to ask the judge to approve a pretrial diversion program that would see him avoid potential jail time, citing the damage a trial could do to his career as a union electrician. Judge Nicholas Schiralli quickly denied the plan, citing the seriousness of the offense and the extremely high speeds involved.
The judge also wanted to set a trial date, though he granted the attorneys' request for more time to reach an acceptable agreement first. Garza's next court date is on September 10.