LOS BANOS — A 51-year-old Sonora man faces up to 10 years in prison after being convicted of driving under the influence when he caused a five-car crash on Highway 152 that killed one person.
Joseph Dinner pleaded no contest Wednesday to one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence of methamphetamine. The July 22, 2012, crash killed David Guest, 57, according to Deputy District Attorney Travis Colby.
The conviction was an "open plea," not the result of an agreement with prosecutors, so a judge will determine how much time Dinner serves in prison. He faces a maximum of 10 years.
Colby said during sentencing the judge can consider the injuries suffered by others involved in the crash.
According to the prosecution, Dinner was under the influence of methamphetamine the day of the crash on Highway 152, just west of the Romero Visitor Center near Los Banos.
The crash was reported at 12:15 p.m. after Stacy Dominguez, 45, of Morgan Hill was driving a 1995 Lexus eastbound on Highway 152 in the slow lane. Dominguez's car was sideswiped by Dinner's 1998 Toyota 4Runner, according to Sgt. Luis Lara.
The Lexus and Toyota both traveled across the center divider into oncoming westbound traffic on Highway 152. The vehicles collided with a 2005 Dodge Magnum driven by Aaron Cisneros, 25, of Orange Park and a 2000 Lincoln pickup driven by Guest of Santa Cruz.
A fifth vehicle, a 2001 Ford Expedition driven by Florinda Ribeiro, 56, of Hollister traveled down an embankment after the driver tried to avoid the crash.
Guest and the defendant were flown to hospitals with major injuries. The other drivers all received minor injuries.
Guest died from his injuries in the hospital, and Dinner recovered.
Dinner is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 23. He remains at the Merced County Jail without bail.
City Editor Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.