A convicted drunken driver who crashed his BMW into a vehicle stuck in rush-hour traffic just east of Riverside, fatally injuring a 62-year-old man, was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in state prison.
A Riverside jury last month deliberated one day before finding 40-year-old Anthony Raymundo Lopez guilty of second-degree murder, as well as gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving on a suspended license and a sentence-enhancing allegation of fleeing the scene of a crime for the 2017 killing of Lamond Mansell of Temecula.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Prevost imposed the sentence required by law.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the wreck caused by the defendant involved a total of seven vehicles, including his BMW sedan.
CHP Officer Dan Olivas said that about 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 20, 2017, the ex-con was traveling eastbound on Alessandro Boulevard toward Interstate 215, in an unincorporated area between Riverside and Moreno Valley, when he began maneuvering erratically at high speed.
Sections of the six-lane route were undergoing repairs at the time, narrowing the drivable space on both sides of the roadway.
“As he approached stopped traffic (at the intersection of Alessandro and Meridian Parkway), Lopez lost control of his vehicle and collided with a Nissan sedan, which was being driven by the victim,” Olivas said.
He said the initial impact set off a chain-reaction collision that damaged five other vehicles. Several occupants suffered minor injuries, while others were unscathed. Mansell was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
Witnesses told investigators they thought Lopez might have been racing another driver, but CHP investigators ultimately determined that was not the case.
The defendant, who wasn’t hurt, attempted to run away from the scene but was stopped, investigators said.
Court records show that prior to the deadly collision, Lopez had three separate misdemeanor DUI convictions. Records also show felony convictions for spousal abuse, resisting arrest and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
He had served time in state prison less than five years before killing Mansell.
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