Chico Cruz


An Idaho Falls man was arrested after a reported drunk driving incident left two children injured.

Chico Ernest Cruz, 41, was driving on July 7 when he reportedly crashed near the intersection of North Ammon and Iona roads. Cruz told police the crash was entirely his fault, and that he ran a stop sign.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Cruz had been driving south on North Ammon Road in a Ford Focus with two juvenile passengers in the car.

The affidavit states Cruz hit two other vehicles when he ran the stop sign. The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and assisted four people who were injured, including the two children. The affidavit states neither child appeared to have been wearing a seat belt, though Cruz said they had been when he was driving.

One of the victims was a 10-year-old girl who was pulled from Cruz’s car. According to the affidavit, her face was covered in blood. Deputies determined she had a gash above her right eye, and that her nose was broken in the crash.

The affidavit states the deputies provided her with first aid while Cruz attempted to comfort her. One of the deputies wrote they could smell alcohol on Cruz’s breath at this time. The child was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center via ambulance.

The other passenger, a boy was treated for bruising by Idaho Falls Fire Department Emergency Medical Services. He did not need to be taken to a hospital and was released.

Two other people, one from each car Cruz hit, also were injured in the crash and taken to EIRMC. Details on their injuries were not available in the probable cause affidavit.

After the injured were cared for, the deputy asked Cruz if he had anything to drink. Cruz said he had been drinking four hours prior to the crash.

The deputy performed a field sobriety test, which Cruz reportedly failed. Cruz agreed to give two samples for a breathalyzer test. One of them showed Cruz had a blood alcohol content of .09, the other said .088. The legal limit is .08.

Cruz was charged on Nov. 8 with aggravated driving under the influence, punishable with up to 15 years in prison and a five-year driving suspension, and two counts of felony injury to a child, punishable with up to five years in prison. He was released from jail after posting a $60,000 fine.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Bonneville County Court.