A truck driver in Fresno CA was sentenced last week to 17 years and four months in state prison for killing a mother and her son and injuring several others, in a deadly DUI crash in July 2014.
The judge on the case, Jonathan Skiles, had strong words for the drunk driver, Alonso Hernandez, before he handed down his decision in Fresno County CA Superior Court.
Skiles blasted Hernandez for never showing remorse for killing Leticia Trejo and her son Ricardo Santos. Letters from Hernandez’s supporters were sent to the judge and stated that the crash could have happened to anyone. But the judge would have none of it.
He told Hernandez that he made a conscious choice to drink and get behind the wheel of a tractor trailer, and lives are damaged forever.
Hernandez pleaded no contest to five felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter, drunken driving causing death and injury, and hit-and-run on the day jury selection was scheduled to begin in his criminal trial. He faced up to 20 years in prison, but got 17 years and four months because he pleaded no contest and had no prior criminal record.
Prosecutor Sally Moreno stated that the drunk truck driver had a BAC of .14 at the time of the crash, which is three times the legal limit of .04 for a commercial truck driver. Hernandez rear ended a 2003 Kia sedan at Manning and Fowler avenues in Fresno CA on July 31, 2014.
The back seat passengers died and the driver and front seat passenger were seriously injured.
When our legal clients or their family members are killed or injured by a drunk truck driver, there are several special circumstances that our DUI attorneys will examine. Our goal in any DUI truck crash is to identify every possible insurance recovery source and recover maximum personal injury compensation for every type of loss. These include medical bills, lost wages, permanent injuries, pain/suffering, scars and all expenses incurred from a DUI-related car or truck accident.
In some cases, such as in some DUI truck crash cases, we can bring an additional claim for punitive damages. This is compensation intended as a punishment that comes from grossly negligent behavior by a drunk driver.
A skilled DUI personal injury lawyer can offer proof in a civil lawsuit that that the trucker was drunk, which could in theory increase potential compensation in some cases. Even if the conviction itself is inadmissible as evidence, other evidence can be presented to bolster a personal injury claims, such as a BAC result or medical test result. In many serious truck accident cases, a multi million dollar settlement is possible.