Murder Charges Filed For DUI Accident That Killed Pedestrian

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office has filed murder charges in a Los Angeles Superior Court against a DUI driver who struck and killed a pedestrian in Pasadena last month.

According to the story appearing on the Pasadena Now website, the accident happened on October 23 at 11:30 p.m. when Martin Cesar Villagomez, 48, of Pasadena, was allegedly struck 36-year-old Christopher Andrew Mendez while driving his GMC SUV. Investigators say that Mendez had been in an unmarked intersection of Washington Boulevard and Palm Terrace when he was hit. 

Emergency personnel declared Mendez dead at the scene.

Pasadena Police Lt. Max Dahstein said that officers questioned Villagomez, who remained at the fatal crash scene. Because Villagomez displayed several characteristics consistent with DUI drivers, officers determined that he had been driving while intoxicated.

Blood alcohol tests initially confirmed that Villagomez did have a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, and Pasadena Police Department officers subsequently placed Villagomez under arrest.  A judge set bond for Villagomez at $2 million. 

Court records indicate that Villagomez had two prior DUI convictions in 1999 and 2003. Los Angeles Superior Court documents show that Villagomez also had a previous conviction of reckless driving from 1995.

Officials say that because of his previous convictions for DUI, where he was more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, according to California law, Villagomez is eligible to be tried for murder.

Investigators are also looking into where Villagomez may have been prior to the deadly crash. It is believed that he may have been drinking at one West Covina establishment before the accident. According to California law, if it is determined that the defendant was served alcohol while already intoxicated, those businesses could also be held liable in Mendez’s death.

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