Suspected DUI Driver Pleads Guilty in Oceanside Crash that Killed a Marine

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Monday, January 10, 2022, that a man driving while under the influence of alcohol when he caused a crash that killed a 22-year-old active-duty Marine in January 2020 has pleaded guilty to the charge of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Court documents indicate that 33-year-old William Edward Vaden was DUI when his vehicle struck the Marine as he was crossing a street near the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Sportfisher Drive at approximately 1:10 a.m. on January 26, 2020. 

San Diego County paramedics and the California Highway Patrol responded to the scene of the crash. The victim was rushed to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. Despite all life-saving efforts made by doctors and emergency personnel, the Marine died from the injuries he suffered in the crash.

Vaden remained at the crash scene and was arrested on the charge of DUI. Because Vaden had a previous DUI conviction in 2010, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office charged Vaden with murder six months later. 

During Vaden’s arraignment, Deputy District Attorney David Uyar asserted that at the time of the fatal crash, the defendant had a blood-alcohol level of 0.22 percent – nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Eyewitnesses gave testimony that Vaden stopped at several Oceanside area bars after work that day before the fatal crash.

Vaden is due to be sentenced in February and could face between 15 years and life in prison. 

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