Earlier this month, we reported on an
accident involving two alleged
DUI drivers that took the life of a 6-year-old boy. Update: The uncle and
guardian of the 6-year-old Santa Ana boy who died on Aug. 3 after a car
crash – passed away from the injuries that he suffered, according
to the county coroner.
D. Wayne Cote, 54, of Santa Ana passed away due to his
injuries at Orange County Global Medical Center in Santa Ana on Aug. 4. Cote was
driving a BMW with his nephew, I. Sandoval, 6, who was sitting in the
front seat, but not in the booster seat that was required by law and in
the BMW’s back seat, when the pair were t-boned by a Nissan shortly
after 12:30 p.m. on Monday (Aug. 3).
The accident took place on St. Andrew Place near Bristol Street. Cote’s
nephew died shortly after the accident at Irvine Medical Center in Orange.
The boy’s uncle and legal guardian, Cote, was suspected of driving
under the influence of narcotics, and the Nissan’s driver, A. Cruz
of Santa Ana, 35, was booked on suspicion of
felony DUI, according to Santa Ana Police Spokesman Cp. Anthony Bertagna.
Initially, the crash investigators believed that Cote caused the collision
after not yielding the right-of-way, however, after further investigation,
they are now trying to determine if Cruz was speeding, said Bertagna,
who noted that Cruz had a prior DUI conviction and could be facing murder
charges based on what the investigation reveals,
OC Weekly reported.
What is vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated?
If the investigation determines that Cruz was responsible for the deaths
of Cote and his young nephew, he could be facing charges for vehicular
manslaughter while intoxicated, a “wobbler” in California.
This means that depending on the facts of the case, it could be charged
as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Under 191.5 PC, if the impaired driver acted with gross negligence, the
case will be prosecuted as a felony, which is punishable by 4 to 10 years
in prison. If the driver acted with ordinary negligence under Penal Code
191.5(b), the defendant could spend less than a year in jail or up to
4 years in prison.
Contact an Orange County DUI lawyer
from the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. Attorney Landry is a member of the
National College for DUI Defense and a
Board Certified DUI specialist!