According to a recent story appearing on the Mercury News website, the Alameda District Attorney’s Office is seeking to upgrade the charges against a 27-year-old driver accused in a fatal DUI hit-and-run crash that killed a 40-year-old mother of seven children.
According to court documents, Henry G. Melendez now faces charges of vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident causing severe injury or death after he allegedly hit the woman while she was picking up her child from school.
The Alameda District Attorney has filed a motion to upgrade the charge from manslaughter to vehicular murder. Prosecutor’s motion to upgrade the charges must show malicious intent that either Melendez intended to murder the victim or that he ignored signs that his actions posed a danger to others. The presiding Alameda Superior Court Judge is expected to rule on the DA’s motion on July 1st.
Melendez is accused of having sped his Nissan Maxima car through an intersection and striking the woman as she was in the crosswalk. Rather than stopping his vehicle, Melendez fled the scene and struck another vehicle at the intersection of 98th Avenue and Plymouth Street. Melendez also fled the scene of the secondary crash.
The driver involved in the secondary crash with Melendez was able to take photographs of Melendez’s vehicle. The photographs helped police investigators identify and arrest Melendez who was already wanted on a warrant from the U.S. Marshall’s service on charges in Los Angeles.
If convicted of the charges against him in this most recent case, Melendez is facing between 15 years to life in prison.