In many cases, a DUI that involves a person’s death is charged as a felony. However, there are cases where it is charged as a misdemeanor. It all depends on whether the police believe the DUI involved gross negligence or ordinary negligence. In the case of ordinary negligence, it is up to the prosecutor whether it is charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. In the case of gross vehicular manslaughter, it is always charged as a felony. Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated requires that a person be doing something else illegal as well as driving under the influence. This could be anything from speeding to driving recklessly.
The Press Democrat reports that a woman and her dog have been killed in a suspected DUI crash.
21-year-old Ivan Angel Martinez was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with a DUI and two additional felony counts. The charges stem from an early morning crash on Hoen Avenue in east Santa Rosa.
At about 3 a.m., Martinez was speeding at about 80 to 90-m.p.h. in a residential neighborhood where the speed limit is 35 m.p.h. He lost control of his Dodge Challenger while navigating a curve near Cypress Way.
He crashed into a parked Mazda SUV where an unidentified woman and her pit bull slept. They were both killed instantly in the crash.
Martinez’s vehicle also struck an unoccupied Toyota Prius in the collision.
It is believed that the woman, who was homeless, was sleeping in her van in front of a home she sometimes stayed at. Her dog did not get along with the family’s pets, so she slept outside with the dog.
Martinez was booked into the Sonoma County Jail on a $200,000 bond.