Suspected DUI driver in deadly Escondido crash arraigned - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Suspected DUI driver in deadly Escondido crash arraigned

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — A man accused of driving drunk in a crash that killed a mother in Escondido entered his plea on Wednesday. 32-year-old Joel Juan pleaded not guilty to three felony charges as he stood next to a Spanish language interpreter.  

Juan is accused of driving under the influence when he hit and killed Esmerelda Guerrero, a 32-year-old mother from Oceanside, who was walking outside the crosswalk of an Escondido street around 12:15 Sunday morning. 

Juan faces felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter charges. 

“The victim in this case was walking across the street legally with her boyfriend," said Deputy District Attorney Chris Campbell. "She was walking a few steps behind her boyfriend.  

Escondido police say Juan swerved his Ford Ranger to not hit the boyfriend when he struck Esmerelda. She was taken to hospital, where she died from multiple injuries. 

Juan’s blood alcohol level tested at .18 percent. 

 “A .15 or .16 - that’s double the legal limit so that’s a very, very high amount for someone to get behind the wheel," said Campbell.  

In Vista court, Judge James Simmons Jr. indicated there’s an immigration hold on Juan’s case, but the deputy district attorney didn't go into detail. 

 “I’m allowed to tell you he has a local address," said Campbell.  

Esmerelda’s mother Antonia Guerrero says she wanted to see the face of the man who killed her daughter and urges all to never drink and drive. 

"Anytime you have an individual that is fatally injured as a result of a criminal offense, it’s a sad case," said Campbell.  

Juan is due back in court on June 15. 

Friends will hold a fundraiser for Esmerelda Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at John Landes Park in Oceanside. 

If you’d like to donate to her GoFundMe, click here.  

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