Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is one of the most serious charges a person can face in California. The charge is a felony and carries a sentence of 4, 6, or 10 years in prison. This is in addition to the penalties for any other charges the driver may face, including the DUI charge or charges of DUI causing injury.
A prosecutor must prove a few different things to secure a conviction for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. The first, of course, is that the driver was intoxicated. The second is that the driver caused the death of another person. They must also prove that the driver also violated another California law or otherwise acted negligently.
The Mercury News reports that a Watsonville man with a history of DUI has been sentenced to 20 years for the death of a Santa Cruz woman.
The District Attorney for Santa Cruz announced on Tuesday that 28-year-old Alejandro Rocha Fernandez has been sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter.
The charges stem from a June 5, 2019 crash where Fernandez had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit. While intoxicated, he recklessly drove into an alleyway, where he struck the victim.
After striking the woman, Fernandez fled the scene. He left the victim pinned beneath his vehicle. The victim, 55-year-old Diana Crotty died from her injuries.
At the time of the accident, Fernandez was on probation for two DUI convictions which occurred in 2016 and 2018.
Fernandez will need to serve at least 85% of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.