On August 11th at 2:31 AM, a fatal traffic collision occurred in Lakeland Village in the city of Lake Elsinore, California. The victim was later identified as Barry Blunt by the Riverside Coroner's Office. Jose Mateo Montejo was identified as the driver of the other vehicle. Montejo was arrested for suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated as well as driving on a suspended for DUI, according to criminal records.
This tragic event could lead to serious and long lasting consequences for Montejo. California Penal Code 191.5(a) is a felony in California that result in a sentence of four, six, or ten years in state prison. Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated requires the prosecutor to prove that Montejo committed a DUI and caused the death due to gross negligence. A DUI by itself is not gross negligence.
Montejo was allegedly heading north on Grand Avenue, just before Vail Street at the time Blunt was traveling on Grand Avenue southbound. According to CHP Officer Mike Lassig, "[Montejo] allowed his vehicle to drift across double yellow lines and into the victim's vehicle" at 2:31 AM. Blunt was killed and Montejo sustained only minor injuries.
According to Steven McNicholl, a DUI Defense Attorney, "gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated can be difficult cases to prove for the prosecution. First, the prosecution must prove that a DUI has occurred. DUIs are complicated cases with numerous defenses because of the nature of proving that a defendant was driving under the influence when there may be no witnesses and evidence of alcohol in the blood may not be obtained until hours after driving has stopped. In addition, proving that a defendant committed an act while driving that was gross negligence that resulted in the death of the victim can be similarly challenging for the prosecution. A defendant is innocent until proven guilty."
Future investigation by the CHP may reveal additional information that may shed light on the circumstances of the case.