Drunken driver sentenced to almost eight years in deadly crash in San Bernardino

A drunken driver who pleaded guilty last month to charges stemming from a collision with an Omnitrans bus which killed his girlfriend was sentenced Friday to state prison.

John Barrios Gonzales, 24, was sentenced to seven years and eight months in prison under the terms of a plea bargain he reached with prosecutors on Aug. 18 in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Gonzales had pleaded guilty to two counts of drunk driving causing bodily injury, with additional allegations on one of the counts, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Two other counts — one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and another DUI count — were dismissed under the plea bargain, court records indicate.

Prosecutors had earlier said that Gonzales faced up to 16 years in state prison if the case had gone to trial and he was convicted.

Deputy District Attorney Jay Robinson said, in an Aug. 20 conversation, that the District Attorney’s Office had consulted with Gonzales’ lawyer, Carlos Juarez, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the victim’s family while working on the plea bargain.

The defendant’s girlfriend and passenger, Kimeko Dale Svitak, 21, died after the 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt she was riding in crashed into the stopped Omnitrans bus on Highland Avenue, just west of Golden Avenue, on Dec. 3.

Witnesses said the Cobalt was weaving in and out of traffic and traveling fast before the collision, according to San Bernardino Police. No skid marks were left at the scene, police said.

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14 thoughts on “Drunken driver sentenced to almost eight years in deadly crash in San Bernardino

  1. kimeko and johnny were two young adults that were in love. nothing could take them apart. what happened was a terrible accident. and we miss her very much. thats something that johnny has to live with for the rest of his life. thats punishment enough. but still hes behind bars facing his responsibility as a man for the girl that he loves. we are by your side johnny. stay strong.

  2. i love you kimeko and i miss you so much cousin. johnny hope you regret it for the rest of your life.

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