For Immediate Release
Man Sentenced To 23 Years, 8 Months Prison
<p>For Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated, Driving Intoxicated Causing Great Bodily Injury, and Fleeing the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death</p><p></p>
Santa Rosa,CA | August 13, 2020
Defendant Francisco Javier Gonzalez-Mejia, 22 years-old of Petaluma, was sentenced today by the Honorable Christopher Honigsberg to serve 23 years, 8 months in state prison after pleading no contest in January to the charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, felony driving with a .08% blood alcohol content causing injury, and fleeing the scene of an accident resulting in death and serious bodily injury. The defendant also admitted having a blood alcohol content of .20 or higher, and admitted a prior “strike” offense from 2015.
District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This was a tragic and completely avoidable death caused by the defendant who chose to drive with a blood alcohol concentration two and half times the legal limit. Those who choose to become impaired and drive in our community put everyone on the road at risk. These offenders will be aggressively prosecuted.”
The charges resulted from an incident which occurred in June of 2018 during which Gonzalez-Mejia was driving a Mercedes sedan northbound on US-101 near the Airport Boulevard off-ramp. Witnesses observed the defendant driving the Mercedes at a high rate of speed before colliding into the rear of a Toyota Corolla causing that vehicle to go off the road and crash head-on into a tree. The collision resulted in great bodily injury to Elvis Jim Barzola-Veliz, 48 years-old of Rohnert Park, who was the driver of the Toyota Corolla, and the death of his passenger Lourdes Haydee Oscanoa-Marcelo, 47 years-old from Rohnert Park. Gonzalez-Mejia fled the scene on foot but was later found by responding officers as he walked northbound on the shoulder of Fulton Road. Gonzalez-Mejia displayed signs of impairment at the scene and was determined to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.21%.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney David Kim of the District Attorney’s Vertical DUI Unit. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The California Highway Patrol headed the investigation.