The driver responsible for the deaths of four people at a Chicano Park festival was arraigned last Wednesday while still in the hospital.
Richard Sepolio pleaded not guilty to charges that he was driving under the influence at the time of the accident. In all, Sepolio was charged with four counts of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and two other DUI charges.
Sepolio had a .08 blood-alcohol level a half hour after the crash. This is the legal limit in California.
Paul Pfingst, who is Sepolio’s attorney, said that his client was not under the influence at the time of the accident. He was cut off by another driver and swerved, which sent his pickup truck through a barrier and plummeting 50 feet to the park below.
24-year-old Sepolio is a Navy aviation technician who is stationed at North Island in Coronado. When his truck fell from the bridge, it landed on top of four people, killing them. The deceased were identified as 52-year old Cruz Contreras and his wife, Annamarie Contreras, 50 along with 49-year-old Andre Banks and his wife, 46-year-old Francine Jimenez.
Sepolio and three others were hospitalized with major injuries. Five others were treated for minor injuries as a result of the accident. Sepolio is suffering from a fractured neck, broken ribs, a broken left hand, and other injuries.
Sepolio’s bail was set at $2 million by Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyherabide. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to twenty-three years and eight months in prison.
According to Pfingst, Sepolio has no prior criminal record.
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