On Wednesday, November 29, a man arrested for a deadly hit and run accident was charged with four counts of murder. Sacramento man Fred Lowe, 47, is facing drunk driving and felony hit and run charges along with some enhancement charges that will likely add to his sentence. According to court records, Lowe has previously been convicted for DUI along with a robbery charge in Solano County.
Allegedly Lowe crashed a blue Mercedes into a white Nissan sedan going east on Interstate 80 around 8:10 p.m. Saturday. The Nissan spun out of control, went over the center divider, and overturned into opposing traffic.
The four victims in the crash were riding with Nissan passenger Jared Horn, a pitcher for UC Berkeley’s baseball team, on their way back from a father-son basketball tournament. Pronounced dead at the scene of the crash were Jared’s father, Daryl Horn, 50; brother, Joe Horn, 14; uncle, Troy Biddle, 52; and cousin, Baden Biddle, 13.
Jared Horn was hospitalized with major injuries and was the sole survivor in the Nissan from the crash. Horn returned home from the hospital on Sunday.
Lowe fled the scene right away, but Contra Costa Sheriff’s Deputies were able to track down his car and arrest him shortly after the crash, according to authorities.
Lowe was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter. Prosecutor Derek Butts, however, is charging Lowe with murder due to the defendant’s history of drunk driving, "the nature of the collision and his driving prior to it, and the flight from the scene, and the high alcohol content in the defendant’s blood," which all add up to murder, according to Butts. We look for "such a high degree of recklessness that it displays implied malice," Butts said, "which supplies the necessary mental state for a second-degree murder."
When it comes to fatal car crashes, murder charges are uncommon but not unheard of. The precedent for a DUI crash involving a murder charge is a 1983 California Supreme Court case. The defendant drove drunk through city streets at double the posted speed limit and ran a red light before crashing a car and killing two people at the following intersection. It was ruled a homicide.
Prosecutors must show that the driver should have known their actions had a high potential to kill someone in order to prove murder.
Authorities state the collision caused by Lowe is one of the deadliest in Contra Costa County’s history. According to jail records, Lowe is currently in jail on a $1.15 million bond, a number which might increase after he is arraigned.