A probationer accused of killing one of his passengers and injuring another in an alcohol-fueled wreck just west of Perris must stand trial on second-degree murder and other charges, a judge ruled Friday.
Heraclio Garcia, 32, waived his right to a preliminary hearing, prompting Riverside County Superior Court Judge Samuel Diaz to rule there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on the murder count, as well as two counts of driving under the influence resulting in injuries and a sentence- enhancing great bodily injury allegation.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Garcia was westbound on Ellis Avenue, approaching Burton Road in excess of the speed limit, when he lost control of his 2010 Infiniti shortly after 6 p.m. on March 25.
The sports sedan veered sharply left onto the shoulder of the road, where it “collided with several mailboxes and a chain-link fence,” said CHP Officer Dan Olivas. “The vehicle continued in a westerly direction and collided with another chain-link fence as it traveled into a dirt field. The vehicle overturned several times, and both passengers were ejected from the vehicle, which came to rest on its right side in the field.”
Paramedics pronounced 24-year-old Cornelio Huerta of Compton dead at the scene. The other passenger, 23-year-old Sergio Garcia of Paramount, was transported to Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where he was treated for moderate injuries, according to Olivas.
Garcia was treated for minor injuries and jailed the next day.
According to court records, he has a prior misdemeanor conviction in Riverside County for driving on a suspended license. Records also indicated a separate driving-related conviction in another jurisdiction, but details were not specified.
Garcia is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside and is due back in court on Nov. 21 for a post-preliminary hearing arraignment.
–City News Service
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