DA charges motorist with DUI, murder

Dominic Casarez is charged with second degree murder charges for a hit and run that killed a motorcycle rider on Orange Belt Drive on Wednesday, Sept. 22

TULARE COUNTY – A hit and run accident that killed a motorcycle driver has landed the driver in jail and now facing murder charges.

According to a California Highway Patrol (CHP) collision report, on Sept. 22 at approximately 2:30 a.m., officers from the CHP Porterville Area office responded to a call of a traffic collision on Road 236 (Orange Belt Drive), south of Avenue 112, with medical personnel responding. During the preliminary investigation it was determined Dominic Casarez, 23, from Visalia was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt northbound on Orange Belt Drive at approximately 65 miles per hour. An unidentified 57-year-old male from Terra Bella was riding a 2006 Harley Davidson southbound on Orange Belt Drive at approximately 45 miles per hour.

While in a gradual curve to the right, Casarez allowed the Chevrolet Cobalt to drift to the left into the opposing southbound traffic lane. The rider was unable to avoid a collision and struck the Chevrolet Cobalt on the left front side. The rider sustained major injuries and was transported to Kaweah Health Medical Center where he later succumbed to his injuries. Casarez fled the scene of the collision on foot and was located by CHP officers approximately one-half mile from the collision scene.

Alcohol and/or drugs are a suspected factor in this collision, and Anaya-Casarez was arrested for driving under the influence and hit and run. This collision remains under investigation.

Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward announced last week that he was pursuing murder charges for the crash. According to Ward’s office, Casarez was charged with second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, hit and run causing death, driving on a suspended license and driving without an ignition interlock device.

The DA’s office noted that Casarez possesses a prior DUI conviction from August of this year.

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