Under California state law, there are times when a DUI, even a first-time DUI, can be charged as a felony. The first way that a DUI can be charged as a felony is if the person charged with the DUI was involved in an accident that resulted in the serious injury or death of another person. The second way a DUI can become a felony is if it is the person’s fourth time getting a DUI in the past 10 years. The third way that a DUI becomes a felony is if the person being charged has ever been previously convicted of a felony DUI.
KTLA reports on a man facing several charges, including gross vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI in an accident that killed a man and his two children.
30-year-old Jose Manuel Garcia was charged with three counts of murder as well as three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter after an accident on Saturday, April 28th left a man and his two children dead.
Garcia had reportedly been speeding north on South Hoover Street in Vermont Knolls in his Nissan Xterra when he ran a red light at West 76th Street.
Garcia then slammed into a Dodge minivan that was carrying a family of five. Both vehicles immediately erupted into flames.
34-year-old Juan Reynoso, 6-year-old Emma Reynoso, and 5-month-old Sebastien Reynoso all died at the scene. One man was able to pull two survivors from the minivan before it “exploded.”
Those two victims, identified as a 33-year-old woman and 9-year-old Julian Reynoso, were both taken to a hospital with critical injuries.
Garcia is being held on $6.03 million bail at the North County Correctional Facility. He is charged with three counts of murder, three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, felony DUI within 10 years of a previous DUI, and other charges that are linked to driving under the influence.
If convicted on all charges, Garcia could be looking at a prison sentence of 82 years.