A 21-year-old man suspected of driving drunk and triggering a three-vehicle crash in Cathedral City that killed another motorist pleaded not guilty today to felony charges.
Angel Gabriel Torres Hernandez of Cathedral City was charged with one felony count of DUI gross vehicular manslaughter, two felony counts of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, and one misdemeanor count of being an unlicensed operator. He additionally faces sentence-enhancing allegations of causing bodily injury on a person over 70, having multiple victims, and fleeing the scene of a crime.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied the allegations Thursday afternoon at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.
Officers responded at 11:21 p.m. Sunday to a traffic collision involving three vehicles near the intersection of Date Palm Drive and Varner Road, according to the Cathedral City Police Department. The Cathedral City Fire Department also responded to the scene and when they arrived, they found that one of the drivers, a woman, had succumbed to her injuries.
Hernandez was allegedly behind the wheel of a vehicle that was northbound on Date Palm Drive when it made an unsafe turn into the southbound lanes and struck two other vehicles, police said. After the crash, he fled the scene but was later apprehended.
He was booked into the John J. Benoit Detention Center in Indio, where he remains held on a $75,000 bail bond. Anyone with information regarding the crash was asked to call the police department at 760-770-0300 or Coachella Valley Crime Stoppers anonymously at 760-341-7867 (STOP).
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