A probationer accused of driving drunk and causing a head-on collision that killed a 67-year-old Lake Elsinore man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder.
Jose Luis Montejo, 22, was arrested Aug. 11 after allegedly plowing into Barry Blunt’s vintage Chevrolet Chevelle in the area of Grand Avenue and Vail Street, in the unincorporated community of Lakeland Village, just west of Lake Elsinore.
Montejo was arraigned before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Stephen Gallon, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for Oct. 4 at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.
The defendant is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the nearby Byrd Detention Center.
According to California Highway Patrol Officer Mike Lassig, the head-on collision happened about 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 11.
Lassig said Montejo was headed north on Grand in a 2006 Buick Rendezvous when Blunt approached from the opposite direction, headed southbound, in his restored 1972 Chevelle.
“(Montejo) made an unsafe turning movement to the left, causing his SUV to travel into the southbound traffic lane, directly in front of the Chevelle,” Lassig alleged. “The suspect’s unsafe turning movement caused the front of his vehicle to collide with the front of the Chevelle.”
Riverside County Fire Department paramedics arrived within a few minutes and pronounced the victim dead at the scene.
Montejo was taken to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, where he was treated for minor injuries, then booked into jail.
According to court records, he has a prior misdemeanor conviction for DUI.
State law permits the filing of a murder charge against a convicted drunken driver, who knowingly drove intoxicated and caused a fatality.
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