A test drive came to a tragic end for 43-year-old CarMax salesman Warren Smale on Tuesday when the C6 Corvette he was riding in crashed into a tree just blocks from the car dealership. Ontario, California police arrested the driver, 28-year-old Alex Demetro of Union City, California, and charged him with vehicular manslaughter and felony driving under the influence of drugs.
Per KTLA5, witnesses claim the Corvette was doing at least 70 miles per hour along the surface street immediately prior to the crash, with the driver losing control and the car striking the tree on the passenger side door. Smale was transported to the hospital, where he was declared dead, while Demetro appeared to only suffer mild injuries.
Those are the facts as we know them presently, but questions abound – a mid-day DUI crash during a test drive is definitely unusual, and has left Smale’s coworkers shocked and saddened. CarMax employee Lydia Garrett remarked, “”It’s a part of our job, the test drives. I know Warren… he probably had no clue, I’m sure.” As of Tuesday night, friends and coworkers had erected a small memorial at the scene of the crash.
A review of Smale’s Facebook page reveals the man coworkers and customers described as someone who would “make you laugh and smile.” In a statement in response to the crash, CarMax spokeswoman Catherine Gryp called it “an incredibly sad day for the CarMax family,” adding, “Our hearts and prayers go out to our associate’s family. CarMax is working closely with the authorities on the investigation.”