The Milpitas Patch reports that a driver has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated after a deadly crash in San Jose.
The crash happened early Sunday morning on the Highway 101 north ramp leading to Interstate 280/680.
21-year-old Esteban Aguilar Jimenez is facing charges of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
According to police, at about 4:10 a.m. Jimenez was driving a Dodge Challenger when he attempted to overtake a Nissan Rogue at high speeds. Jimenez crashed into the Nissan.
In the back seat of the Nissan was an unidentified 61-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene. A 34-year-old male driving the Nissan was rushed to Regional Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries. Another passenger in the Nissan also suffered from injuries.
Three passengers in Jimenez’s Challenger were also injured. Jimenez was taken to Valley Medical Center. Once released from the hospital, he will be booked into Santa Clara Jail.
Under California law, if a person is driving under the influence and causes an accident that kills another person, there are two types of manslaughter a person can be charged with criminally. The first is vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. This is known as a wobbler charge, meaning it can be a felony or a misdemeanor.
The driver would be charged with this if the police or prosecutors do not believe there was any negligence involved on the driver’s behalf. The second charge is gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Unlike the previous charge, this is always charged as a felony. Prosecutors charge this when they believe that there is some negligence on the intoxicated driver’s behalf other than intoxication. For example, driving the wrong way or speeding may constitute negligence to result in this charge.