Any car accident that involves the death of another person is traumatic for all involved. However, if this accident occurs while the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, California takes it very seriously. The driver may be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. This is a serious felony charge that carries with it a possible four, six, or ten-year sentence in prison. There is also a fine of up to $10,000. In order for a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter to be proven, the driver must have also violated one of California’s traffic laws. It can also be charged if it is not the driver’s first DUI.
The Mercury News reports that a man has taken a plea deal in a crash in Walnut Creek that claimed the life of a college student.
38-year-old Justin Ross was on probation for a previous DUI offense when he caused a three-car crash on November 24, 2018. The crash happened just after midnight near the exit for South Main on Interstate 680 in Walnut Creek.
Investigators stated that Ross veered out of his lane and into oncoming traffic. He hit another vehicle head-on. Inside that car was college student 18-year-old Pantea Azizi Tourshizi. Tourshizi was killed in the accident. She was visiting California while on break from the college she attended in Florida.
Ross has a previous DUI conviction from 2015 and was on probation for that charge when the accident occurred.
On December 10th, Ross pleaded no contest to a count of gross vehicular manslaughter and being a repeat DUI offender who caused great bodily injury. He was sentenced to 14 years and four months in prison and will get credit for time served while waiting for the case to resolve.