Despite a plea of charge leniency by his criminal defense lawyer, the judge in the criminal court case of a man who caused a horrific head-on car crash decided on Thursday (10/22) that Shane Gerald McDonald will stand trial on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence causing injury, according to the San Diego-area news site TimesofSanDiego.com.
The incident occurred last May on Interstate 15 in California. Authorities say McDonald, 22 from Guam, got onto the wrong expressway ramp that took him in the opposite direction traffic was flowing. This led him to hit a family driving a Honda sedan in his black Audi, killing the driver, Rodolfo de la Torre, and passenger, Teresa Esparza Hernandez. The three passengers in the back seat escaped with their lives, but were left with serious injuries.
McDonald now faces up to 16 years in state prison if convicted, according to Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright. McDonald’s criminal defense lawyer, Cole Casey, tried to convince Superior Court Judge Kenneth So that his client should only be held to ordinary negligence, as opposed to gross negligence during a preliminary hearing. Casey argued that it was a new ramp that McDonald was not familiar with.
“He made a wrong turn,” the criminal defense lawyer said.
Even though plea bargains are more likely with first time offenders, McDonald’s BAC was .14% an hour after the crash, close to the .15 level making it a Class A Misdemeanor itself in states such as Indiana, and well over the legal limit of .08. He also admitted to witnesses at the scene and a California Highway Patrol officer at the hospital that he had been drinking. The chances of dismissing a drunk driving case in this situation is almost impossible.
The crash reportedly occurred at freeway speeds and there were no visible signs of brake marks at the scene. McDonald told officers he had been to a party in Del Cerro where he had, “more than three beers and two shots of vodka.”