News


Livermore woman, 14-month-old baby killed in suspected DUI crash

Family outside at get-together when driver veers off Murrieta Blvd. into backyard

The driver involved in an alleged DUI crash that took the life of a woman and her baby when a car crashed into an apartment in Livermore Saturday evening was at a wine festival prior to the crash and has already been released on bail, according to police.

Brian Jones, a 35-year-old Livermore resident, allegedly lost control of his vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol.

Preliminary tests indicate that Jones was driving with a 0.13% blood-alcohol content or higher, according to Officer Ryan Sanchez.

Investigators believe Jones had been drinking at the Livermore Wine Country Festival prior to the crash, which occurred at roughly 6:50 p.m. Saturday in the 900 block of Murrieta Boulevard.

A 40-year-old woman from Seaside and her 14-month-old daughter were pronounced dead at the scene. They had been with their families in the apartment's backyard when the crash occurred.

Their identities are being withheld pending notification of their next of kin, according to officials with the Alameda County coroner's bureau.

Two boys, ages 6 and 7, were also taken to a hospital in stable condition after the crash, according to police.

Jones was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury.

"We know that he was at the wine country festival, but we don't know what time he left," Sanchez said. "They stopped serving alcohol at 5 p.m. and the crash happened about an hour and 50 minutes later."

Sanchez said that the wine festival is permitted by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and vendors receive training about serving intoxicated individuals. Livermore police also maintain a presence at the festival, identifying visibly intoxicated people and helping them find sober rides, according to Sanchez.

There are unanswered questions about when Jones stopped drinking and what he did after leaving the wine festival, according to Sanchez, but police will be looking into those questions as the investigation continues.

"With a crime of this magnitude we focus on the collision itself and then over time we branch out," Sanchez said.

Anyone who witnessed the crash or has additional information about the events that led up to the fatal incident is asked to contact the Livermore Police Department at (925) 371-4777.

HomeNewsStory

Livermore: $11,000 raised for family of mother, daughter killed in crash

By Joyce Tsai and Rick Hurd rhurd@bayareanewsgroup.com

Posted: 05/04/2015 07:51:15 AM PDT

0 Comments

| Updated: about 14 hours ago

Police investigate the scene of a fatal accident on Murrieta Boulevard near Fenton Street in Livermore, Calif., on Saturday, May 2, 2015.

Police investigate the scene of a fatal accident on Murrieta Boulevard near Fenton Street in Livermore, Calif., on Saturday, May 2, 2015. (Jane Tyska, Bay Area News Group)

Related Stories

May 2:

Livermore: Suspected DUI driver plows into apartment complex, killing woman and child

LIVERMORE -- With tears in her eyes, Rosa Maria Morales looked upon the collection of stuffed animals, candles and flowers at her apartment building on Murietta Boulevard.

"There are no words for this," she said. "She was talking to me, and the car just came and took her out."

On Saturday, Morales' family was hosting a barbecue to celebrate her son's communion and her daughter's birthday. Just as they finished eating, a Chevrolet Corvette shot over the curb, hitting and killing Esperanza Morales-Rodriguez, 40, and her 1-year-old daughter, Yulidia Perez-Morales, known affectionately as Yuli.

Esperanza Morales-Rodriguez, 40, and her 1-year-old daughter, Yuli.

Esperanza Morales-Rodriguez, 40, and her 1-year-old daughter, Yuli. (Contributed/gofundme.com)

Brian Jones, 35, of Livermore was arrested on suspicion of two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury. Jones was treated for his injuries and booked into Alameda County Jail. He posted $350,000 bail and was released. His arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a fundraising website to help the victims' family had raised over $13,000 as of Monday afternoon.

"Everything happened so quickly. I still feel like I'm dreaming," said Morales. "It feels like it's not real what happened to us."

Morales said she was talking to Morales-Rodriguez, the aunt of her 8-year-old son, Carlos, when the car came barreling toward them out of nowhere.

"She was talking to me, and the car just came and took her out. Pieces of the car were flying. I just felt like I was in shock. I didn't know what to do."

Morales said she started to scream,"Where are the children? Where are the children?" Most were inside, but Carlos was pinned underneath part of the busted fence.

"He was covered with oil, and he had dirt in his mouth and eyes," she said.

Morales said her husband, Juan Morales, was able to pull their son out.

Family members said the victim's husband, Gil Perez, remains distraught.

"He's very distressed," Juan Morales said. "He prays for his daughter and his wife. He still screams his daughter's name again and again: 'Yuli! Yuli.' " Rosa Berenice, 19, said tearfully, "I felt like it was my fault because they were there for my birthday.''

By late afternoon Monday, 363 people had donated $13,496 on a Go Fund Me page at www.gofundme.com/tnamy8. According to the site, Yulidia was 14 months old.

"It's such a tragedy," said Santiago Hernandez, a family friend who started the page. "We are all just trying to do the best we can."

Dave Brooksher, Bay City News.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

9 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of Danbury Park
on May 3, 2015 at 12:17 pm

This is horrible. Another drunk driver destroys families. When will the human race learn. But in the meantime lets keep advertising alcohol on TV ads more than ever before. The human race is a joke at times. RIP Baby and mother, together now in God's loving arms. This makes me sick.


11 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 3, 2015 at 1:41 pm

This is a terrible tragedy. If you do drink alcohol, do it responsibly; Use designated drivers, and if you've had even one drink, don't drive!


21 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 4, 2015 at 8:21 am

Hm. Will Tesla, where the Drunk Driver is employed make a statement? This guy is very wealthy owns tons of stock and is out on bail already...


9 people like this
Posted by Philly
a resident of Livermore
on May 4, 2015 at 9:50 am

They should put an end to these wine festivals. They should be sued for over seeing this guy in addition to him going to jail.


11 people like this
Posted by carlos
a resident of Highland Oaks
on May 4, 2015 at 9:50 am

Were any DUI check points set up in Livermore? Or was the PD told to "stand down"?


18 people like this
Posted by Christine
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on May 4, 2015 at 10:56 am

It aboslutely makes me sick that this guy is out on bail. I don't care how much money he has or who he works for. He make a horrible decision to get in his car after drinking as much as he did. He should stay in jail and die there. He took two innocent lives.


10 people like this
Posted by Tom
a resident of Livermore
on May 4, 2015 at 11:06 am

@Philly - It is not the wine festival's fault and it's fairly short sighted to let ONE idiot destroy a fun family oriented event in downtown Livermore. How about people being smarter and start thinking about the consequences of driving while impaired. People have to have some personable accountability and it is NOT the wine festival's responsibility to make sure people don't get in their cars and drive after they have had a few tastes of wine at an event. People must be held accountable for their actions and hopefully this guy will pay for his.


7 people like this
Posted by Damon
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on May 4, 2015 at 11:33 am

@Tom: "...and it is NOT the wine festival's responsibility to make sure people don't get in their cars and drive after they have had a few tastes of wine at an event."

Sounds like he had more than a "few tastes" of wine if he had a BAC of 0.13%. And I believe that in past court cases that bars have been found to have some legal liability if they continue to serve alcohol to a customer who is obviously intoxicated and that customer then goes out and kills or maims someone in a DUI. Not saying that the wine festival is guilty of wrongdoing in this case, but they don't get an automatic pass either. We'll have to see what the circumstances are.


9 people like this
Posted by 1 who cares
a resident of another community
on May 4, 2015 at 12:21 pm

Why do we HAVE to have "WINE Festivals", anyway ? Let's face it,... it's all about the buzz, not about the next bottle of wine to add to your cellar. It's hard to keep total control of everything that goes on at these festivals, when you have a thousand people or better walking around. The wine is flowing, the crowd gets bigger and bigger. Yes,... you are at a party ! And just how much more than this does it take to prove that there are always going to be those who can't handle it? Ask the families of all the dead people here.If you have enough money, you can buy your way out of something like this ? Maybe he can share some of his wealth in helping to pay for their funerals. He needs to spend time in community service in the mortuary where this mother and her baby are right now.Happy Mother' Day! And gee,... do you know for sure he will not ever drink and drive again ? We will never know will we ?


6 people like this
Posted by Tom
a resident of Livermore
on May 4, 2015 at 12:38 pm

@ Damon - "Sounds like he had more than a "few tastes" of wine if he had a BAC of 0.13%. And I believe that in past court cases that bars have been found to have some legal liability if they continue to serve alcohol to a customer who is obviously intoxicated and that customer then goes out and kills or maims someone in a DUI. Not saying that the wine festival is guilty of wrongdoing in this case, but they don't get an automatic pass either. We'll have to see what the circumstances are."

I agree! I'm just a big fan of people taking responsibility for themselves and their actions. It is a terrible tragedy for sure!


Like this comment
Posted by 2 1 who cares
a resident of Downtown
on May 4, 2015 at 1:13 pm

I'm not sure what "buzz" you're talking about. There were plenty of things to see/do besides drink alcoholic beverages.


3 people like this
Posted by Ed
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 4, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Drunk driving has been a problem ever since there were cars on the road,
For example "It is interesting to note that Massachusetts has taken the initiative against those motorists who drive while in an intoxicated condition by revoking their licenses....(They) rightly should be prevented by law against risking the lives of others. Motorists as a body, will commend this action by the Massachusetts legislature."

This is from the Detroit Free Press on December 22,1907, that's nineteen hundred and seven


5 people like this
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 4, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Jtjh is a registered user.

There will always be irresponsible people who drive drunk. But the greater the penalties, the greater the incentive not to do it. At the moment, it seems to me that it is all too easy for those with money to avoid any really unpleasant consequences for the crime.

Even when those who have caused injury or death by drunk driving go to jail, the length of the sentence, let alone the amount of time they actually serve, is ridiculously short.

The less the potential consequence, the less the incentive to avoid the risk. Losing one's license for an extended period of time would be a significant deterrent. Yes, some would continue to drive without a license, but in my opinion, the percentage of those who do will be considerably smaller than the percentage of those who currently drive drunk. Especially if doing so and being caught would render the loss of the license permanent.

Whoever one is and however much money one can afford to pay an attorney.


Furthermore, sentences need to be far more commensurate with the crime, instead of short enough to cause hollow laughter. (Or postponed almost indefinitely and even avoided altogether if one knows how to play the legal system.)

At the moment, the only real deterrent for some people seems to be the cost of insurance coverage. So increase that dramatically. And again, driving without having paid those higher premiums should result in the loss of one's license.


2 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 4, 2015 at 9:22 pm

@Dan - not sure why Tesla would have any public statement on this. Where he is employed, how much money he has, none of it makes this any less tragic.


5 people like this
Posted by Michelle
a resident of Downtown
on May 4, 2015 at 9:52 pm

I just read that he has a previous DUI conviction. He's a serial drunk driver.

His bail was set at a measly $350K for taking two innocent lives. He is due in court tomorrow and I hope the judge considers his previous conviction and the seriousness of his crime and increases his bail into the millions. He'll probably still be able to raise the money, but at least the family of the victims know that the lives lost are worth something. They are speaking out by expressing that they don't want this man to hurt any other family the way theirs has been. Even with the unspeakable tragedy, they are acting with such grace and concern for the entire community.

Pleasanton Weekly, I'm hopeful you will have someone in court when he appears tomorrow. While I didn't know this woman and here little baby, I do care as I know so many do and would like to know how our justice system is handling this.


5 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 4, 2015 at 10:02 pm

Speaking of drivers killing people, what happend with the lawyer that killed the guy on a bike in Dublin a couple of years ago?


Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of another community
on May 5, 2015 at 5:02 am

Bars and bartenders are held harmless under California Civil Code:

Web Link

The best they can be charged with is a misdemeanor:
Web Link (Look under "California")


Like this comment
Posted by Joseph
a resident of Mission Park
on May 5, 2015 at 6:26 am

I have absolutely zero tolerance for drunk drivers, or drunk people. The people that drink in excess are weak, insecure individuals. If someone 'needs' a drink to relax they have a problem!
If people that were drunk could see how absolutely stupid they act they would be mortified.
Drunk drivers are the worst. This guy should sit in jail the rest of his life!


3 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Del Prado
on May 5, 2015 at 6:31 am

*Ed* taking away a license is a very minimal amount of progress. Many drivers continue to drive without their licenses. Smarter controls would be jail time and for repeat offenders, longer jail time. Our culture does not punish this horrendous crime, period!


3 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on May 5, 2015 at 7:30 am

So very sad. Just zero positive benefit to alcohol consumption. DUI, liver problems, hypertension, irregular heartbeat. Not worth it at all and to top it off no one drinks because they are in love with the taste. Just want to relax or get a buzz. We should put the same effort into reducing its glamour as we have into cigarettes.


Like this comment
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2015 at 9:57 am

@Pete,

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 5, 2015 at 9:59 am

From the above link:

"Heavy drinking is a major cause of preventable death in most countries. In the U.S., alcohol is implicated in about half of fatal traffic accidents."

"Heavy drinking can damage the liver and heart, harm an unborn child, increase the chances of developing breast and some other cancers, contribute to depression and violence, and interfere with relationships."


2 people like this
Posted by olfthfl
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 5, 2015 at 10:36 am

The attorney in Dublin got away with it and so will this guy. Money talks!


2 people like this
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 5, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Robert asked:

>>Speaking of drivers killing people, what happend with the lawyer that killed the guy on a bike in Dublin a couple of years ago? <<

I expect you're referring to the attorney Spencer Freeman Smith. Next week will be the THIRD anniversary of the crime and the case remains unresolved. In November 2014, the attorney entered a guilty plea. However, on the day the trial was due to start, the judge recused himself. This allowed Spencer Freeman Smith to enter a new plea and apparently he changed his plea.

There was due to be further court action in April, but the case may, of course, have been postponed yet again. Unfortunately, public record information on Alameda Co. criminal cases is not available online.

I hope that justice will eventually be done and seen to be done.


Like this comment
Posted by Jtjh
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 5, 2015 at 1:09 pm

I wrote that the Spencer Freeman Smith case remained unresolved, but I guess it's possible that there WAS in fact action and resolution, or some plea deal, in April.

But if there was, I have been unable to find any media reports on what happened. (If anyone else knows, please post the information.)


2 people like this
Posted by K
a resident of California Reflections
on May 5, 2015 at 1:21 pm

At Joseph, yes you are correct, the people that drink like that are weak, insecure individuals. That is why alot of us are not sober and work 12 steps to flush out the crap as to why we masked and drank like that in the first place....AA is the most wonderful program ever....We can only hope a seat will be saved for the many more practicing AA's out there.... For there are so so many....


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Time to review all Dublin residential plans?
By Tim Hunt | 3 comments | 1,378 views

Couples: Child Loss, "No U-Turn at Mercy Street"
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,248 views

Around Pleasanton: Holiday Fund helps Cultural Arts Council help others
By Jeb Bing | 2 comments | 329 views