An annual motorcycle event “La Raza Run” turned into a collective prayer. Instead of celebrating, people remembered in prayers the victims of a horrible crash at Chicano Park on October 16.
An accident took place around 3:30 pm. A pickup truck hit the bridge rail and fell off the San Diego Bridge landing on a crowded motorcycle fiesta in a park below. CHP officers reported that four people died and nine were injured including the pick-up truck driver. Two people sustained serious injuries and few other persons suffered minor to moderate injuries.
The CHP arrested the pickup truck’s driver on a suspicion of DUI and DUI causing bodily injuries and death. The arrestee is a 25-year-old US Navy serviceman, Richard Anthony Sepolio. He was in his vehicle alone when he drove the GNC pickup off the San Diego-Colorado Bridge, falling 60 feet down and ramming into a vendor’s booth. At the time of the accident, there were more than 100 persons at the park celebrating a traditional annual Mexican American festival. This Mexican American celebration included a car show, music, artwork, and dance.
Mr. Richard Sepolio sustained major injuries and was taken to UC San Diego Medical Center for treatment. The CHP identified the 4 who died in the park as Cruz Elias and Annamarie Contreras from Chandler, Arizona, and Andre Christopher Banks, and Francine Denise Jimenez from Hacienda Heights, a Los Angeles suburb.
According to the records, the suspect was previously charged with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia in Tom Green County, Texas. Now Sepolio could face charges for four counts of DUI causing death.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs without aggravating factors or prior offenses is a misdemeanor offense in California. However, when a DUI causes a serious injury or death to another, it will be charged as a felony DUI offense. California prosecutors can charge Mr. Sepolio with one of the following serious charges: California Vehicle Code 23153 (DUI with injury); California Vehicle Code 191.5(b) a DUI vehicular manslaughter or California Penal Code 187, a “Watson Murder”, also known as a DUI second-degree murder.
Which type of California DUI offense will be charged depends on the specific facts of the accused person’s case and on their criminal history. Upon conviction of a felony DUI with injury, the defendant can be sentenced to probation or to 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in California State Prison. The jail term will depend on the facts, such as any aggravating factors and the severity of the victim’s injuries. In addition to jail time, the court is also required to impose a monetary fine that can reach several thousand dollars. Also, upon a conviction, a defendant must attend and complete a DUI program that can be as short as 3 months and as long as 30 months. Additionally, the driver’s license of any person arrested for a DUI will be suspended for at least 6 months in case of a DUI with no injuries, and for at least 1 year in case of a DUI with injuries. The judges have the authority, in some cases, to revoke a person’s driver’s license for up to 10 years.
For all DUI-related cases, please call Los Angeles DUI attorneys. We can help you defend your case.