Driver in Pittsburg crash that killed two charged with homicide – San Francisco Chronicle
The Contra Costa County district attorney’s office has charged a man with two counts of murder after he allegedly drove while intoxicated and crashed his car into another vehicle, killing its driver and a 7-year-old passenger.
Christian Vargas — who was on probation for a previous DUI conviction — has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and driving under the influence of alcohol and causing injury, according to a criminal complaint provided on Friday to The Chronicle.
The complaint says that Vargas did “unlawfully, and with malice aforethought murder” Ramiro Gerardo Castro and Sela Meliane Rosalez-Mataele on Monday.
Vargas, 25, had a blood alcohol content of .08% or more as he traveled eastbound “at a high rate of speed” on West Leland Road just east of John Henry Johnson Parkway on Monday evening, the criminal complaint says.
The Chevy Camaro he was driving crashed into the rear of a Toyota Corolla, causing its driver to lose control and hit several trees, Pittsburg police said. The driver of the Corolla, identified in a criminal complaint as Castro, “suffered major injuries” and died, police said. A 7-year-old child identified in the complaint as Sela Meliane was taken to the hospital with critical injuries and later died.
The 7-year-old child and two other children, ages 1 and 4, were all ejected from the Corolla, police said. The youngest was in a car seat. Vargas was not injured in the fatal crash, police said.
Besides the two counts of murder, the district attorney’s office charged Vargas with driving under the influence of alcohol causing injuring within 10 years of another DUI offense; driving with .08% blood alcohol content causing injury within 10 years of another DUI offense; and a number of special enhancements for causing great bodily injury to other passengers, a criminal complaint says.
A second adult in the Corolla is expected to recover from major injuries, police said on Tuesday.
Two passengers in the Camaro — including a 10-year-old child who was seated in the rear seat — were taken to a local hospital with serious injuries, police said on Tuesday. Their conditions were unknown on Friday.
Vargas is being held at Martinez Detention Facility on $2.5 million bail. His next court date is scheduled for April 28, said Scott Alonso, a spokesperson for the Contra Costa County district attorney’s office.
Lauren Hernández is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: email@example.com Twitter: @ByLHernandez