Wrong-way driver pleads not guilty in death of Creekside grad Trenton Stewart

The driver accused of killing an 18-year-old Creekside High School grad in a wrong-way head-on crash in May pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Tuesday morning.

Ariel Monteagudo is being charged with vehicular homicide in the crash that killed Stetson College football player Trenton Stewart on May 9.

Stewart’s parents, Robert and Mandi, went to Monteagudo’s arraignment on Tuesday.

“Seeing him for the first time in person was extremely difficult,” Robert said. “And I’m not surprised that they’re putting in a motion to reduce bond, shows no accountability.”

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Police said Stewart was driving east on Old St. Augustine Road when Monteagudo, who was going the wrong way, slammed his Mercedes head-on into Stewart’s Trailblazer. The arrest report said Monteagudo was speeding.

The impact flipped the Trailblazer, and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue had to cut the roof off to get Stewart out. He died at the hospital. Monteagudo suffered critical injuries.

“I think the biggest part of this that doesn’t make sense to me is looking at his history for his entire life. I mean, we’re talking 20-plus charges since he was an adult, and that for me is difficult to process as to how this could have possibly happened and how he could have possibly had an active license that night,” Mandi told News4JAX.

Robert and Mandi said they’re hopeful justice will be served.

“I think if Trent were standing here today, he would not be happy with the potential sentencing of this case. And I know deep, deep down inside of my soul that he would advocate for change. He would advocate for harsher sentencing for a repeat offender of vehicular homicide,” Mandi said.

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