A probationer pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing one of his passengers and seriously injuring another in an alcohol-fueled wreck just west of Perris and was immediately sentenced to 14 years and four months in state prison.
Heraclio Armando Garcia, 34, admitted one count each of DUI gross vehicular manslaughter and attempted murder with a great bodily injury allegation. A second-degree murder charge was dropped under the plea agreement with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
Superior Court Judge John Molloy certified the terms of the deal, which was reached as the defendant’s case was about to go to trial, and imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense.
Cornelio Huerta, 24, of Compton was killed and then-23-year-old Sergio Garcia of Paramount was injured in the March 25, 2017, crash.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Garcia was driving westbound on Ellis Avenue, approaching Burton Road in excess of the speed limit, when he lost control of his 2010 Infiniti about 6 p.m. The car 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.
He said the car continued in a westerly direction and collided with another chain-link fence, then overturned several times. Both passengers were ejected from the Infiniti, which came to rest on its right side in a dirt field.
Paramedics pronounced Huerta dead at the scene. Garcia was taken to Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where he was treated for extensive injuries. Garcia was treated for minor injuries and jailed the next day.
According to court records, he had 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.
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