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Second highway crash victim dies

A second person has died as a result of injuries sustained Oct. 20 in an head-on highway accident caused by a wrongway driver. The person arrested after the accident faces a pre-preliminary hearing next week on felony manslaughter and felony drunken driving charges.

Tommy Reynolds, 23, of San Diego died Monday at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Reynolds and Armando Lule, 19, also of San Diego, were gravely injured in the 2 a.m. accident on northbound Highway 99 north of Franklin Road. Lule died Oct. 21 in a Modesto trauma center.

Aubree Hogue, 20, of Dos Palos, driver of the pickup which struck a car driven by Daniel Wells, 20, of San Diego, remains in Merced County Jail in lieu of $300,000 bail. Wells and another passenger, Roger Trueblood III, 23, of San Diego, were less seriously injured but remain on medical leave at Miramar Naval Air Station where they are stationed.

Deputy District Attorney Bruce Gilbert said Hogue's pre-preliminary hearing and bail review will be at 10 a.m. Monday in Department 2 of Merced County Superior Court. Deputy District Attorney Rita Carlson will be prosecuting the case.

Ironically, Hogue's uncle, Daniel Lee Moore, Jr. of Dos Palos, recently was paroled after serving part of a 10-year prison sentence for vehicular manslaughter and felony drunken driving following a fatal auto accident.

Moore was arrested in connection with the death of 17-year-old Michael Gonzales in an Oct. 6, 2002 accident at Palm and Carmellia avenues in Dos Palos, according to Deputy Paul Barile, spokesman for the Merced County Sheriff's Department.

Reynolds' uncle, former Mercedian Pat Deputy of Las Vegas, said Reynolds was taken off life support after donating his heart and other organs. His heart was intended for a waiting recipient in San Francisco. His body will be returned to the Merced County coroner and then returned to his family in Roseville.

Deputy said had Reynolds survived he would have been a quadriplegic and would have had minimal brain function. He had been in a coma with fatal head injuries, brain stem damage and a severed spinal cord, since the accident. Reynolds had been a sailor in the U.S. Navy and an airplane mechanic at Miramar Naval Air Station.

Services for Reynolds will be at noon Saturday at Reicherts Funeral Home in Roseville, with a Navy Honor Guard service at 10:30 a.m. at Roseville Public Cemetery, Deputy said.

Gilbert said an amended complaint will be filed, adding a second count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence to Hogue's charges.

California Highway Patrol officers said Hogue was driving a 1997 Chevrolet Silverado pickup southbound in the northbound fast lane of Highway 99 at an unknown speed. Wells was driving a 2002 Mitsubishi Lancer northbound in the fast lane at about 65 to 70 mph.

Officers said Wells observed a vehicle ahead of his swerve to the right and then saw the pickup approaching. He tried to swerve into the median to avoid a collision but the front of the truck struck the right front of the car in the northbound lane.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger can be reached at 209-385-2485 or dyawger@mercedsun-star.com.

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