Driver in fatal DUI crash found guilty of murder

Daniel Mejia.png
Posted at 9:55 AM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 12:57:53-05

The drunk driver that crashed into a Jeep killing a mother and her five-year-old son and injuring her three-year-old daughter was found guilty of Second Degree Murder on Monday.

In November 2017, Juan Garcia was driving his 2002 Jeep southbound on Highway 99, north of Highway 119 and slowed to a stop in the center median divider and turned on his hazard lights to change a flat tire. Daniel Mejia was driving under the influence when he crashed into the back of Garcia's vehicle.

According to the District Attorney, "as a result of the collision, Karla Mendoza and her five-year-old son, Axel, were both killed. Additionally, three-year-old Zoey Mendoza was severely injured."

Prior to the accident, several witnesses had seen Mejia driving erratically and recklessly and called 911.

Investigators were able to determine that Mejia "had his accelerator pedal pressed at 98% of full throttle and that he was speeding at 98 miles per hour just seconds before the collision." It was also determined that Mejia's blood-alcohol level was .231, almost three times the legal limit.

In addition to the two counts of Second Degree Murder, Mejia was also found guilty of two counts of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated and Driving Under the Influence.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 22. Mejia faces a sentence of up to 38 years-to-life in prison.