SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A driver accused of being under the influence when his vehicle collided with another, causing a fatal chain reaction, pleaded not guilty Friday to murder and manslaughter charges.
Jeffrey Brain Levi, 37, pleaded not guilty to charges, including murder and vehicular manslaughter, from the Jan. 2 crash that killed two people and injured two others - including an off-duty police officer.
If convicted, Levi faces 40 years to life in prison. He is being held on $2 million bail.
Police said Levi's Ford Mustang rear-ended a Toyota Corolla on northbound Interstate 15 while he was traveling more than 100 mph at about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday. Witnesses told police Levi then exited his wrecked Mustang and walked away from the crash.
After Levi walked away, a Ford Explorer driven by an off-duty San Diego police sergeant hit the Corolla, which then burst into flames.
Bystanders were able to rescue one woman from the Corolla, but not the other two passengers. The woman was brought to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest with severe injuries.
A GoFundMe page identified the three people as David Dominguez, 33, and Isaac Felix and Giovanna Dominguez, both 18.
The off-duty officer was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital with minor to moderately serious injuries. Charges against the officer, whose name has not been released yet, are not expected at this time.
According to police, Levi had a blood alcohol level of 0.16 to 0.17 three hours after the crash. He also has a previous DUI conviction, in which he was sentenced probation and three months in a rehabilitation program.
According to San Diego County, the number of DUI fatalities hit a seven-year high in 2017, with 25 DUI-related deaths recorded across Central, East, North, and South Counties.