MODESTO — A Turlock man has been charged with murder in connection with a fatal DUI crash last weekend.
Arturo Serrano, 30, had a prior conviction for driving under the influence in Alameda County in November when he crashed into a tree on Highway 132 east of Empire on Sunday, killing his passenger.
The accident occurred just after 2 a.m. west of Bent Road when Serrano lost control of the Nissan Sentra he was driving, which drifted off the north shoulder, and then south back across the highway. The vehicle hit a levee and became airborne before slamming, passenger side first, into a tree,
Francisco Gonzalez-Hernandez, 32, of Modesto died at the scene and Serrano was taken to a Modesto hospital. He was released Wednesday and booked into the Stanislaus County jail.
Serrano was charged with second-degree murder, vehicular manslaughter, operating a vehicle prohibited by court order without an ignition interlock device and driving on a suspended license.
District Attorney Birgit Fladager said she couldn't speak specifically about Serrano's case but said defendants with previous DUI charges are advised that a future DUI resulting in death might be charged as murder. She said a murder charge stemming from a DUI is typically charged in conjunction with a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter so a jury can decide which charge is most appropriate.
Serrano will appear in Stanislaus Superior Court on April 29 for a continued arraignment hearing.
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter, @ModestoBeeCrime.