DA Charges DUI Manslaughter when Nobody Dies


The Yuba County, California District Attorney is apologizing for making the mistake of charging manslaughter against an Olivehurst teen for a collision that didn’t kill anyone. 
 
 
In January of this year 18-year-old Joaquin Orozco was allegedly driving with a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit, when he lost control of his 1993 Toyota pickup causing it to flip. Orozco’s 20-year-old brother, Lorenzo was thrown from the bed of the truck. 
 
Although he suffered severe brain injury, Lorenzo is expected to survive. The District Attorney’s Office, however, did not take the time to realize as much when reviewing the California Highway Patrol report. 
 
According to CBS Sacramento, Yuba County District Attorney Pat McGrath says he looked at the report, which referenced major head trauma, and made the incorrect assumption that Lorenzo had died. McGrath apologized to Lorenzo’s family and has said that the manslaughter charge will be dismissed when Joaquin appears in court. 
 
McGrath claims that in his 31 years, he’s never made a charging mistake like this. However, while it is impossible to miss this error, other errors are not so obvious. And yet they still happen by careless and/or overzealous prosecutors. I know this because I defend people accused of crimes day in and day out.  
 
I hope that this is a wake-up call to prosecutors. Other errors can prove to be much more injurious than mere insensitivity, which it was to Lorenzo’s family.  
 
Even though the manslaughter charge will be dismissed when Joaquin appears in court, he still faces two counts of driving under the influence causing injury and having alcohol in his vehicle. 
 
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