Alleged DUI Driver Charged With Murder In Santa Maria Crash

In California, a DUI conviction comes with many penalties, including fines, jail time, probation, and license suspension. California also has several “enhancements” that can make the penalties much more severe. An enhancement is when the law views a DUI as particularly egregious and adds penalties accordingly. Common sentence enhancements include DUI with excessive blood-alcohol levels if BAC levels are above .15% or .20% respectively. Another enhancement is excessive speeding. Another common enhancement is DUI involving injury or death. A hit-and-run can also be considered a DUI enhancement if the person flees from the scene of a DUI accident.

The Santa Maria Times reports on a man charged with murder in a DUI that killed two people. On Wednesday, prosecutors filed murder charges against Javier Artemio Cortes for a March 16th crash. The crash occurred near Donovan Road and Miller Street in Santa Maria.

In addition to the murder charges, Cortes was also charged with driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .08%. He also faces the DUI enhancement charges of excessive speed and causing great bodily injury to multiple people.

Santa Maria police responded at 3 a.m. to a report of a collision. When they arrived, they found that Cortes’ black car had plowed into the driver’s side of a car carrying four people.

17-year-old Madison Elizabeth Coleman and 20-year-old Monica Gonzalez were pronounced dead at the scene. Also injured in the crash were Kimberly Olivo and Makayla Angelique Everhart.

Cortes had a blood-alcohol level of .17% at the time of the crash. He was freed on bond on March 25th. However, once charged with the most recent charges, he was re-arrested and a bond of $2 million was set.

Cortes will return to court on June 20th to set dates for a preliminary hearing.

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