When a DUI accident claims a life, it is no doubt a tragic experience for all involved, including the drunk driver. The intoxicated driver faces serious charges. These charges will either be vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, or DUI murder. The first charge can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, at the prosecutor’s discretion. The second two charges are always felonies.
The LA Times reports on a man facing vehicular manslaughter charges for a crash that occurred in December.
49-year-old Bernardo Alvarez Zalpa was charged with felony counts of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run causing serious injury, driving under the influence causing injury, and driving with a blood-alcohol-level exceeding legal limits. Zalpa is also facing enhancement charges of inflicting great bodily injury and fleeing the scene.
The charges stem from a December 4th accident in which Zalpa was driving a Honda Accord south in the fast lane of the 55 Freeway. He crossed all lanes of traffic just after 6 p.m. and collided with a Mini Cooper. Zalpa continued traveling and collided with a Toyota 4-Runner on the Del Mar Avenue off-ramp. The crash caused the 4-Runner to overturn, ejecting the driver of the vehicle, 48-year-old Jose Olguin. Olguin was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the Mini Cooper was not injured.
Zalpa is expected back in court on May 17th. He is currently being held at Orange County’s Theo Lacy Jail on a bond of $100,000.