Tulare man sentenced for fatal DUI accident

Servando Lopez receives a life sentence for DUI crash that injured one and killed two, including a minor

VISALIA – A man from Tulare was sentenced to life in prison for driving under the influence of alcohol and rear-ending another vehicle, resulting in the injury of one person and the deaths of two others.

On Nov. 2 the Tulare County Superior Court announced that the court sentenced Servando Lopez, 58, to life in prison for a DUI crash that killed two victims and injured a third.

The scene took place on July 8, 2017 at 3:30 p.m., when the victims’ vehicle was stopped at a red light on the northbound intersection of Hillman and Cartmill in Tulare. In the vehicle was an adult female driver and her two children, a 19-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy. While stopped at the light, they were rear ended by Lopez at an estimated speed of 50 to 60 mph and the force of the impact was so strong it pushed the vehicles into the middle of the intersection.

Despite the efforts of first responders and medical staff, the 19 and 12-year-old victims died of blunt force trauma in the accident. At the time of the incident, Lopez’s blood alcohol content was .23%.

On Sept. 25, Lopez accepted his sentence by pleading no contest to second-degree murder. He also pleaded no contest to driving with a .08% blood alcohol content (BAC) and causing injury. He also pleaded no contest to special allegations, or increased penalties, for causing great bodily injury and for having an excess BAC of over .15%. In addition to this crime, Lopez possesses a prior misdemeanor DUI conviction from early 2017.

Under current California law, Lopez must serve 20 years in prison before he can receive parole consideration.

The case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney Noell Niayesh and was investigated by the Tulare Police Department.

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