Judge declares mistrial on key counts in Lyft driver's death

Posted at 12:30 PM, Apr 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-20 21:07:51-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A jury deadlocked Friday on two key charges regarding a drunk driving crash that killed a Lyft driver on SR-94.

Steven Quintero was charged with six counts including murder and gross vehicular manslaughter in the Oct. 1 death of 41-year-old Henry Reyes of Escondido.

The jury reached verdicts on four counts, finding Quintero guilty of DUI causing injury, DUI, hit and run with death, and driving on a suspended license. The judge declared a mistrial on the murder and gross vehicular manslaughter charges.

RELATED: Testimony in Lyft driver's death continues

Reyes was taking three women home from a night downtown when the crash happened. One of the women became ill and Reyes pulled over on the shoulder of SR-94 near 28th St. to give her some water.

Minutes later, the Lyft car was hit from behind by Quintero’s car. Reyes, an aspiring dentist and the father of a 2-year-old child, was killed as he walked around the car to get back in.

"I was hit so hard I didn't know where I was," said passenger Kelly Hoffman, who was on the phone in the backseat when the collision occurred. 

Hoffman testified that she had a broken bone of the top of her foot, whiplash of the neck, and a concussion.

Passenger Sarah Smith, who had cuts to her chin, a neck injury and a bruised spine, said she has no memory of the crash.

At Quintero's arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright said the murder count was warranted because a previous charge of driving under the influence was filed against the defendant in November 2015, and because he allegedly left the scene of the fatal crash.