The 28-year-old man arrested in connection to a fatal crash in which one person was killed returned to Yuma Justice Court on Wednesday for his arraignment.

During the hearing, Justice of the Peace Gregory Stewart informed Levi Jesus Martinez-Abril that a criminal complaint had been filed against him, charging him with five felony offenses.

Those offenses, Stewart continued, are one count of manslaughter, one count of aggravated DUI and three counts of aggravated assault, two of which are being considered as dangerous crimes against children due to the ages of the victims.

Martinez-Abril was arrested Sunday following his release from Yuma Regional Medical Center for injuries he received in the two-car crash that happened at approximately 5:23 p.m. in the area of Somerton Avenue and County 10th Street.

The initial investigation revealed that a gray 2015 Hyundai Sonata was traveling southbound on Somerton Avenue when the driver, now identified as Martinez-Abril, crossed the centerline, veered onto the east side shoulder of the road, and collided with a guardrail.

As the Hyundai came off the guardrail, it collided head-on with a white 2001 Chrysler LHS that was traveling northbound on Somerton Avenue.

The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office Critical Accident Response Team and the Criminal Investigations Bureau responded to the scene and assumed the investigation.

The driver of the Chrysler LHS and two juvenile passengers were transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center by Rural Metro Fire Department ambulances for injuries sustained during the collision.

Jorge Luis Gelabert, 63, of Yuma, who was a front-seat passenger in the Chrysler sustained fatal injuries as a result of the collision and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Martinez-Abril and a passenger of the Hyundai Sonata were also transported to YRMC with non life-threatening injuries.

Although attorney Antonio Bustamante of the Yuma County Public Defender’s Office was present to represent Martinez-Abril temporarily, Stewart ordered that counsel be appointed to him.

When the matter of bond was addressed, Stewart granted a request from prosecutor Tom Varela that it remain at the $250,000 cash-only amount it had been set at during a previous hearing.

Martinez-Abril’s next court appearance is a preliminary hearing scheduled for 4 p.m. on July 16. His case, however, will likely go before the grand jury before then. If that does happen his next hearings will be in Yuma County Superior Court.

James Gilbert can be reached at or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.


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