Collision in Winchester, California
A 54-year-old man accused of causing a fatal drunk driving collision in Winchester has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and other offenses.
Ernest "Sniper" Lugo from Westminster was arrested on Sunday for allegedly causing the deadly accident on Domenigoni Parkway at Alamar Mesa Drive.
In addition to the manslaughter charge, Lugo is also being charged with driving under the influence of controlled substances and an enhancement for serious bodily injury.
The defendant, who is currently being held on a $75,000 bail at the Byrd Detention Center, had his initial court appearance scheduled for Friday afternoon at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Lugo was driving a 2016 Chevrolet truck that entered the eastbound lane of Domenigoni while traveling westbound at an unconfirmed speed around 7:20 p.m. on Sunday.
"The truck was traveling in the wrong direction," said Officer Jonathan Torres from the California Highway Patrol to City News Service. "A 2008 BMW was traveling eastbound on Domenigoni Parkway, in the correct direction, and the truck collided head-on with the BMW."
Both the BMW and the truck sustained significant damage. Debris from the impact was thrown towards a Nissan sedan that was following the BMW, but the damage to that car was minimal, according to Torres.
Paramedics from the Riverside County Fire Department arrived at the scene minutes later and pronounced the BMW driver dead at the scene. The coroner identified the driver as Jose Montanchez Jr., a 65-year-old resident of Hemet.
Lugo and his passenger, whose identity was not disclosed, suffered minor injuries and were taken to a hospital for treatment. The defendant was subjected to alcohol or drug tests, and Torres alleged that officers confirmed Lugo had been driving under the influence.
He was arrested without incident.
The passenger was treated and released from the hospital.
Lugo does not have any previously documented criminal convictions in Riverside County.
Location: Domenigoni Parkway & Alamar Mesa Drive, Hemet, CA, USA
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