On Monday, March 9, 2020, the Lancaster Station Traffic Investigation team acquired a second-degree murder conviction for a crash that killed three people in a marijuana DUI case.
Led by Sergeant Dave Jennings (retired) Detectives Gil Borruel, Ryan Bodily and Matt Davis investigated a crash from January of 2018. Yovany Salazar Calzada, his wife Rocio Lopez and Mr. Calzada’s grandmother, Virginia Martinez, were killed when their vehicle was struck by another vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle not only ran a red light, but was driving nearly 90mph in a 40mph zone. In addition, blood test proved the driver was driving under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash.
At the time, finding the driver guilty of three counts of second-degree murder was one of the first of its kind in marijuana related crashes. It set a new precedent for driving under the influence cases that could have an impact in convictions nationwide.
Our detectives would like to use this conviction and sentencing to raise awareness to the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana. Driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated mean driving impaired. Whether it be alcohol, marijuana or prescription medication, impaired driving is unsafe, unlawful and has serious consequences.
Our hearts go out to the victim’s family, including their young children. We are so thankful to our Traffic Detectives for their incredible work.
We hope this has not been in vain and to have our message shared:
Marijuana impairs your judgement. Do not drive impaired. Ever.
**Edit/Update** We would like to add that the sentence is a mandatory 15 years.
The driver accepted full responsibility for his actions and in open court apologized to the victim’s family, an apology the family graciously accepted. The driver also did a PSA/interview warning teens and young adults of the dangers of driving under the influence. The PSA/interview will be broadcast by a local Los Angeles station at a later time.