Hearing for driver suspected in fatal DUI crash

Posted at 12:03 PM, Jan 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-18 15:03:08-05

SAN DIEGO - A preliminary hearing is scheduled at the downtown courthouse Wednesday in the case of a man accused of driving drunk and causing a collision in Mira Mesa that killed a 19-year-old motorist.

Christian Evangelista, 22, is charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing injury.

Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright said Evangelista spent the night of Aug. 20 drinking with friends, and when they ran out of alcohol, the group decided to go to a 7-Eleven store to buy more.

One of Evangelista's friends offered to drive to the store but the defendant drove anyway, according to Bright.

On the way back, Evangelista -- driving 50-55 mph in a 25-mph zone, ran a stop sign and broadsided a car driven by 19-year-old Tutam Le, the prosecutor alleged. Le died on the way to a hospital. Evangelista and two others in his car were hurt.

The defendant's blood-alcohol level was measured at .13 percent two hours after the accident, which means it would have been between .16 and .17 percent -- double the legal limit -- at the time of the crash, the prosecutor alleged.

Bright said the defendant had a pending speeding ticket and had been convicted for texting while driving. Evangelista faces 15 years and four months in prison if convicted.

At the end of the preliminary hearing, a judge will decide whether enough evidence was presented to order Evangelista to stand trial.