FONTANA — A suspected drunk driver has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and two other felonies in connection with a fatal traffic collision here in November.
Victor Manuel Hernandez’s blood-alcohol level was measured after the Nov. 14 crash at 0.34 and 0.37 — more than four times the legal limit.
David Garcia, 22, was killed after Hernandez’s GMC Yukon collided with several cars that were waiting at a red light just before midnight at Citrus and Base Line avenues.
Hernandez, 47, of Corona, has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges. He was released from custody Dec. 3 after posting $525,000 bail, and is next due Jan. 31 in Fontana Superior Court.
Hernandez declined to comment Thursday when reached for an interview. He said he needed to speak to his lawyer before speaking to a reporter, and said his lawyer would not be available until Monday.
In an interview with police, Hernandez said he drank two beers after eating lunch, and denied drinking any more alcohol before the crash, according to a police report contained in his court file.
Garcia was a passenger in a Nissan sedan that was struck by Hernandez, according to the police report.
The driver of the car, Andrew Ortiz, told police that he, Garcia and another friend left a gas station at the intersection shortly before the crash.
“As Ortiz was waiting for the signal to turn green, he heard a loud acceleration-type noise coming from south of his vehicle,” the police report says.
“Ortiz looked into his rearview mirror, at which time he observed headlights heading toward his vehicle.
“Ortiz could tell that the vehicle was not slowing down. Knowing that he was about to get hit, Ortiz shouted to his passengers, ‘Hey.’
“At that time he was suddenly struck from behind by (Hernandez).”
Garcia, who was sitting in the back of the car, was pinned between the back seat and the front passenger seat.
He suffered major head trauma and was pronounced dead at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, according to the police report.
Hernandez, who according to the police report appeared extremely intoxicated, was treated at the hospital for a bump to his forehead.
A blood sample taken from Hernandez at the scene measured his blood-alcohol content at 0.34, while a second test at the hospital yielded a measurement of 0.37, according to the police report.
According data downloaded by police from the black box recorder in Hernandez’s car, he was driving 52 mph five seconds before the collision, and didn’t brake before the crash.