High school senior takes plea in fatal DUI accident

RANCHO SANTA FE — A Torrey Pines High School senior pleaded guilty Nov. 10 to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in connection to an alcohol-related accident in which one of his teenage passengers died and another suffered serious injuries.
In lieu of his plea, the 17-year-old driver is expected to be placed on probation when he is sentenced next month; however, there is a possibility he could face additional confinement, including house arrest, his attorney has said.
The single-car crash occurred around 1:45 a.m. Oct. 4 on a windy road in 5000 block of La Granada near the Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club, authorities said. The driver, who had a blood alcohol level of .10 an hour after the accident, rolled his 2008 Mazda 3 while traveling at a high rate of speed, police said.
Alcohol and speed were both contributors in the crash, police said. The teenagers had been at a party prior to the accident.
The driver and his four teenage passengers were all students at Torrey Pines High School.
Alex Capozza, 17, died at the scene, while Jamie Arnold, 17, suffered blunt head trauma. Police said neither Arnold nor Capozza were wearing their seatbelts.
The driver is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 9 in San Diego Juvenile Court. He remains in custody at Juvenile Hall.
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old Oceanside resident accused of a single-vehicle accident in which his juvenile passenger was killed pleaded not guilty Nov. 12 at his brief arraignment hearing in a Vista courtroom.
Reyes Miranda is charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI relating to a crash that occurred around 2 a.m. Nov. 8 on East Vista Way near Mason Road in Vista and killed 17-year-old Gerardo Chacon.
During the arraignment hearing, Deputy District Attorney Roy Lai said Miranda lost control of his Ford Mustang, hit a guardrail and then crashed through a bus-stop shelter.
Chacon, a junior at Vista High School, died at the scene as a result of blunt force trauma, authorities said.
Like the two aforementioned victims, police believe Gerardo was not wearing his seatbelt.
Miranda, who remains in custody on $200,000 bail, used the aid of a wheelchair and wore a neck and back brace throughout the brief hearing. His preliminary hearing was set for Jan. 11.
If convicted, he faces up to six years in prison, Lai said.


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