An unlicensed driver accused of killing four people when he plowed into their vehicle at a Jurupa Valley intersection while driving under the influence was charged Thursday with four counts of DUI gross vehicular manslaughter.
George Marchan Ponce, 30, allegedly caused the deadly collision last month that killed 23-year-old Marco Aguilar, 20-year-old Nicholas Cahill, 25-year-old Jellsey Clinton and 20-year-old Daniel Smith — all of Riverside.
Along with the manslaughter counts, Ponce is charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license.
He’s being held on $300,000 bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside and is slated to make his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon at the Riverside Hall of Justice.
Ponce was hospitalized for over two weeks, recovering from injuries suffered in the crash, before doctors cleared him to be booked into jail.
According to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Gutierrez, the crash happened about 11:45 p.m. on Oct. 23 at 56th Street and Van Buren Boulevard.
The sergeant alleged Ponce was at the wheel of a pickup going north on Van Buren, when he tried to make a sharp turn to head west on 56th and lost control.
“The driver failed to negotiate the turn and traveled into southbound lanes on Van Buren … (where he) collided with the vehicle occupied by the four individuals,” Gutierrez said.
The speed at which the defendant was traveling remains under investigation.
Two other motorists going south on Van Buren were hit by debris from the wreck as it happened, but they avoided impact, according to Gutierrez.
He said paramedics reached the location within a few minutes and pronounced all of the victims in the impacted car dead at the scene.
Ponce was in his vehicle when deputies arrived and was taken into custody without a struggle.
According to court records, the defendant has prior convictions for battery on a domestic partner and hit-and-run resulting in property damage, both misdemeanors.