Not guilty plea from motorist of causing alcohol-related crash t - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Not guilty plea from motorist of causing alcohol-related crash that killed woman and grandson

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EL CAJON (CNS) - A Lemon Grove man accused of driving drunk and slamming into the rear of a sport utility vehicle on state Route 125 in La Mesa, killing a woman and her grandson, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI with injury.

Justin Stephen Foulds faces 12 to 13 years in state prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Gordon Paul Davis.

Foulds -- who has no prior record -- was ordered held on $750,000 bail in connection with the Dec. 9 deaths of 73-year-old Celia Torres and 16-year-old David Gonzalez.

Torres had driven from her home in Tijuana to pick up her grandson because he had an appointment with a Tijuana orthodontist the next day and she didn't want him to miss it, according to family members.

Davis told El Cajon Superior Court Judge Charles Ervin that Foulds left work about 3 p.m. Friday and drank with co-workers in a parking lot, then proceeded to a local bar, where he shared one or two pitchers of beer and drank a couple shots of whiskey.

Foulds left the bar about 5:30 p.m. and, shortly thereafter, slammed his Chevrolet Silverado into the victim's Nissan Pathfinder near the Interstate 8 interchange while traveling about 65 mph, Davis said.

The impact spun the victim's SUV around, knocking it into three other vehicles. Torres and her grandson burned to death when their vehicle burst into flames, Davis said. Foulds walked away from the accident.

The prosecutor said preliminary reports indicate 15 feet of skid marks at the crash scene.

"It appears it was a quick stop at highway speeds and it was a rear-end collision into the Nissan Pathfinder," the prosecutor said outside court.

Foulds' blood-alcohol level measured .26 percent after the collision, more than three times the legal limit, Davis said.

The prosecutor successfully argued that the defendant's actions -- including going 65 mph during rush hour where traffic is known to be stop-and-go -- represented a danger to the public. Ervin raised Foulds' bail from $500,000 to $750,000.

Davis told the judge the defendant lives in Lemon Grove and works in El Cajon.

"It's our theory, along with the CHP, that he travels from El Cajon home on the 125 southbound, and should have been familiar that traffic backs up at that intersection of I-8 and 125 on a daily basis, five days a week," Davis told reporters.

The prosecutor said the investigation is continuing into what injuries other motorists suffered and whether additional charges will be filed.

Foulds will be back in court Dec. 22 for a readiness conference and Dec. 27 for a preliminary hearing.

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