The California Highway Patrol believes that a 24-year-old San Joaquin Valley man was drunk and speeding when his GMC pickup truck ran through a stop sign in Tulare County and struck a Pontiac sedan on the night of May 12. The 75-year-old woman behind the wheel of the Pontiac and her 67-year-old female passenger lost their lives in the crash. The man also suffered serious injuries in the accident and was rushed by paramedics to the Kaweah Delta Medical Center. He faces a raft of charges including vehicular manslaughter and DUI involving an injury.
According to a CHP report, the accident took place at the intersection of Road 60 and Highway 137, which is also called Inyo Avenue, near Tulare at approximately 8:30 p.m. Officers say that interviews with witnesses and an examination of the man's pickup lead them to believe that he was traveling at about 70 mph when he struck the Pontiac. The posted speed limit in the area is 55 mph.
Police have not revealed what led them to suspect that the man was influenced by alcohol when he crashed. The Visalia resident will be transferred to the Tulare County Pretrial Facility once doctors clear him for travel. Road 60 and Highway 137 were closed to traffic for two hours while the CHP conducted its investigation. The two women killed in the accident were both declared dead at the scene.
Penalties for driving under the influence are extremely severe when accidents cause serious injury or death. When presented with facts like these, experienced criminal defense attorneys might seek to avoid a trial and resolve drunk driving charges through plea negotiations.