19 years in California prison for San Diego DUI death after racing & high speed chase, Attorneys report
In San Diego DUI accident cases, judges are not looking to give the defendant a break, attorneys remind. This is especially true when someone dies and the accused flees from the cop with prior(s), San Diego DUI lawyers suggest. 19 years in prison is what can happen.
Here’s an example of an accused with a prior DUI conviction and three speeding citations, including one in which he was going more than 100 mph. Jorge Lopez, was speeding in a 1991 Honda Civic alongside a westbound sedan — apparently racing the other motorist — when an officer spotted him near College Boulevard shortly before 1 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2012.
The other driver slowed down, but Lopez refused to yield and fled at speeds up to about 100 mph, soon merging onto northbound Interstate 5, according to California Highway Patrol public-affairs Officer Jim Bettencourt.
Lopez exited onto Mission Avenue and headed east before turning south on Mesa Drive, allegedly continuing on at about 80 mph before hitting a dip in the road, veering out of control and crashing into a parked pickup truck near Mesa and Pajama drives.
The defendant was airlifted to Scripps La Jolla Hospital for treatment of his injuries but his passenger, 21-year-old Marco Gutierrez of Oceanside, died at the scene of the wreck.
The accused led a California Highway Patrol officer after being spotted racing another driver on state Route 78, eventually crashing and killing his brother-in-law, pleaded guilty Thursday to voluntary manslaughter.
He also admitted to charges of drunken driving with injury, reckless evasion causing injury, participating in a speed contest causing death, assault with a deadly weapon and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, according to Deputy District Attorney Geoff Allard.
The prosecutor said Lopez will get 19 years when he is sentenced by Superior Court Judge Carlos Armour on July 24.