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Alleged drunk driver who struck pedestrian in Oceanside charged with murder

Posted at 5:56 PM, Dec 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-20 20:56:32-05

VISTA (CNS) - An Oceanside man who allegedly fatally struck a pedestrian in a crosswalk while fleeing from another crash was charged Friday with murder, among other charges.

Wesley Stuart, 27, was also charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run and drunken driving, and faces 15 years to life in state prison if convicted of all charges stemming from the Tuesday night death of 65-year-old Tran Thanhminh of Oceanside.

Police said the initial crash was reported shortly after 10:15 p.m. Tuesday at Douglas Drive and Mission Avenue.

RELATED: 65-year-old man killed, driver arrested in Oceanside hit-and-run

Investigators believe Stuart was driving a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado pickup and was speeding eastbound on Mission, ran a red light and collided with a Ford F-150 pickup that was northbound on Douglas, Oceanside police Sgt. Rick Davis said.

After the crash, the Chevy driver backed up and headed east on Mission, where he struck Thanhminh in a crosswalk, dragging him about 150 feet down the street, the sergeant said.

Thanhminh, who died at the scene, was with his wife at the time, though she was not struck, authorities said.

The couple had just closed their restaurant for the day and were walking home when he was hit, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office, which stated that his wife had already crossed the street when she heard the crash, but did not see her husband when she turned to look into the street.

Stuart allegedly continued on Mission before getting out of the pickup at Rancho Del Oro and fleeing on foot with a passenger, Davis said.

Officers searched the area with the help of a police helicopter and apprehended the two outside Stuart's home, Oceanside police spokesman Tom Bussey said.

Stuart was arrested. The passenger was detained and later released, Davis said.

After pleading not guilty to all charges, Stuart will return to court Jan. 2 for a readiness conference.