Suspect in fatal Big Lake crash arrested in New Brighton

A 36-year-old man with a warrant for criminal vehicular homicide has been arrested in New Brighton, according to the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office.

Juan Carlos Garcia-Morales (Ramsey County Jail)

Juan Carlos Garcia-Morales was wanted in connection with a deadly collision on Feb. 22 that caused the death of 33-year-old Matthew Daniel Barthel in Big Lake.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Barthel was heading southbound in a 2008 Mazda 3 on Sherburne County Road 81 just before 8 a.m. and was crossing the intersection with Highway 10 on a green light. At the same time, a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee westbound on Highway 10 entered the intersection on a red light and hit Barthel, causing him to crash into a third vehicle.

Law enforecement investigated the crash and discovered that The driver of the Grand Cherokee was identified as Garcia-Morales.

The Sherburne County Sheriff’s office reports that Juan Carlos Garcia-Morales was apprehended after the Sherburne County Drug Task Force received a tip regarding his whereabouts.

According to the report, Garcia-Morales was leaving a building on the 2300 block of Silver Lane on May 4 when he was taken into custody without incident. Authorities also say he was in possession of a loaded handgun and 22 grams of methamphetamine.

He is awaiting arraignment in Sherburne County for the criminal vehicular homicide charge. Charges of second-degree possession of a controlled substance and persons ineligible to possess firearms are also currently pending in Ramsey County.

If convicted, Garcia-Morales faces up to 10 years in jail and nearly $20,000 in fines.

Contact Sam Lenhart at [email protected]