Crime

Case ends in drunk driving crash that killed Turlock eighth-grader, injured 2 others

A 21-year-old man has been convicted of driving drunk in a Turlock crash that killed a Dutcher Middle School eighth-grader and injured two others several months ago.

Kevin Hernandez Solis of Turlock on July 3 was convicted of three felonies that stemmed from the crash that killed Freida Pineda. The 14-year-old girl died in the wreck in the 100 block of East Monte Vista Avenue in Turlock.

Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Robert Westbrook on Monday ordered Solis — who remains free on a $100,000 bail bond — to return to court Aug. 16 for his sentencing hearing.

Westbrook has said that several people are interested in speaking in court about the impact of Freida’s death and the injuries suffered in the crash. The judge will allow them to speak at Solis’ sentencing.

Freida was in a white Toyota sedan with sisters Rebecca and Kendra Murillo, who were seriously injured in the crash. The sisters, who are in varying stages of recovery, attended Wednesday morning’s hearing to see the case resolved in a plea deal.

“It’s been really hard, definitely,” Rebecca Murillo said about dealing with the anguish of Freida’s death. “It seems like it’s been a long time, but (the pain) is still fresh.”

She said Freida was an outgoing young lady, who was hoping to attend college. She said Freida’s family and friends plan on gathering on Sept. 27 for Freida’s birthday to remember her.

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Family of Freida Pineda and Rebecca Murillo, with walker, attend the arraignment of Kevin Hernandez Solis at the Stanislaus Superior Court in Modesto, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. Solis was arrested last month on suspicion of driving under the influence in a crash that killed a 14-year-old Pineda and seriously injuring Murillo and her sister in Turlock. Andy Alfaro aalfaro@modbee.com

Solis pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with gross negligence, and two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury. As part of a plea deal with prosecutors, enhancements to his charges will dropped, and he will be sentenced to seven years and four months in prison.

“I think he deserved more time, a lot more time,” said Rebecca Murrillo, who undergoes physical therapy twice a week to treat nerve damage in her right arm.

Deputy District Attorney Diane Von Der Ahe told the judge that Rebecca Murillo’s injuries included a skull fracture, and her sister’s injuries included multiple rib fractures.

To fulfill his end of the plea deal, Solis must not have any new law violations at the time of his sentencing. If he doesn’t comply, the judge could hand down a maximum sentence of 14 years and 4 months in prison.

Solis pleaded guilty to all charges and admitted all the enhancements listed in a criminal complaint filed against him.

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FILE PHOTO — Kevin Hernandez Solis leaves his first court appearance at the Stanislaus Superior Court in Modesto, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. Andy Alfaro aalfaro@modbee.com

The deadly crash was reported about 7 p.m. Solis was driving a black Toyota Tundra pickup, which struck a nearby carport and a parked vehicle after hitting the white sedan, according to Turlock police. Solis was found just outside the pickup with minor injuries.

The prosecutor on Wednesday told the judge that Solis’ pickup was speeding, about 76 mph in a 45 mph zone. Von Der Ahe said Solis had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana before got behind the wheel that night.

The charges the defendant pleaded guilty to indicate that Solis’ blood alcohol level was at least 0.15 percent. The prosecutor told the judge that Solis’ blood alcohol level was 0.19 percent, which is more than twice the legal limit.

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Rosalio Ahumada writes news stories about criminal court cases in Stanislaus County for The Modesto Bee, issues related to immigration and immigrant communities and breaking news related to crime and public safety. From time to time, he covers the Modesto City Council meetings. He has worked as a news reporter in the Northern San Joaquin Valley since 2004.
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