The Palm Springs Desert Sun reports that a suspected DUI motorist was arrested in connection with a crash that caused multiple fatalities in Palm Springs last week.
Palm Springs authorities say that 53-year-old Shawn Michael Kirkpatrick was arrested on the charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
According to a statement released by the Palm Springs Police Department, at approximately 3:00 p.m. on September 3, Kirkpatrick caused a crash on Gene Autry Trail during a sandstorm that forced motorists to slow down due to poor visibility.
Police investigators say that two vehicles in the crash slowed down while a third vehicle, driven by Kirkpatrick, did not. Kirkpatrick rear-ended one of the two slower vehicles and then collided with the other.
The driver and two backseat passengers in the first vehicle died at the scene of the crash.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office approved the charges against Kirkpatrick in October, and he was arrested last week. Each count of gross vehicular manslaughter carries a sentence of between four and 10 years in prison. With the felony DUI charge, Kirkpatrick faces a fine and/or an additional four years in prison and another three if it is proved that he caused great bodily injury.