A man facing trial in a Madera County double manslaughter case is a fugitive after missing a February court appearance and will be sought on a $200,000 warrant, District Attorney David Linn said Thursday.
Bruce Erickson, 67, of Winton in Merced County was arrested in May 2015 after a violent crash on Highway 99 north of Chowchilla. Juan Barragan Cervantes and Vanessa Tapetillo, both 28, died in the collision involving a Toyota Tacoma the pair were riding in and Erickson’s Ford F-350, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The CHP said the crash took place after Erickson left Farnesi’s restaurant in Chowchilla, where he crashed into two vehicles while hauling a trailer with the Ford. He then drove north on 99 before losing control of the truck at the Road 15 exit, went airborne on a sharp offramp turn and landed on top of the Toyota as the second vehicle was entering the highway. CHP officers arrested Erickson on charges of driving under the influence.
Erickson was free on a $100,000 bail when he didn’t show up Feb. 10 for a hearing in the court of Judge Joseph Soldani, Linn said. Trial in the case was scheduled for March 28. Linn said Erickson faces 12 to 13 years in prison if convicted in the case.