A man who drunkenly crashed an SUV into another vehicle on the San Diego (405) Freeway in Torrance, causing the other vehicle to fatally strike two construction workers, was convicted today of murder.
Yocio Jonathan Gomez, 25, of Wilmington, was convicted of two counts each of first-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and single counts of DUI causing injury and DUI causing injury with two or more priors.
He faces up to 30 years to life in prison when he is sentenced May 30.
Gomez was driving a Ford Explorer at roughly 90 mph through a construction zone around 3:30 a.m. July 22, 2012, when he rear-ended another SUV, prosecutors said. The other SUV spun out of control and struck Ramon Lopez, 56, of Chino Hills, and Ricardo Zamora, 58, of Winchester, who were employed by a contracting firm working on the 405 in Torrance under Caltrans supervision.
Both men died. A third worker, Angel Mendoza, was injured. During a preliminary hearing last year, Mendoza testified that he felt the impact of being struck, and that he would up "covered in blood" that was not his own.
According to prosecutors, Gomez had a blood-alcohol content of 0.21 -- three times the legal limit. He had been at a friend's party, where other partygoers and Gomez's mother pleaded with him not to drive, prosecutors said.
Gomez had two prior DUI convictions from July 2008 and April 2009, according to the criminal complaint.
--City News Service