Crime

Winton man pleads guilty in DUI crash that killed two people, Madera DA says

Bruce Erickson pleaded guilty in March to vehicular manslaughter in connection with the 2015 deaths of two people following a drunken-driving collision in Madera County, according to the District Attorney's Office
Bruce Erickson pleaded guilty in March to vehicular manslaughter in connection with the 2015 deaths of two people following a drunken-driving collision in Madera County, according to the District Attorney's Office

A 68-year-old Winton man has pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in connection with the 2015 deaths of two people, the Madera County District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.

Bruce I. Erickson had a blood-alcohol level of .25, more than three times the legal limit, on May 8, 2015, when he crashed on a Highway 99 on-ramp, north of Chowchilla, prosecutors said.

Juan Barragan Cervantes and Vanessa Tapetillo, both 28, were killed in the crash, the California Highway Patrol reported.

CHP investigators said Erickson's Ford F-350 crashed into a Toyota Tacoma carrying Cervantes and Tapetillo. Officers said Erickson crashed into two vehicles while hauling a trailer with his Ford. He then headed north on Highway 99 and lost control of the truck at the Road 15 exit, went airborne on an off-ramp and landed on top of the Toyota.

Erickson was arrested at the scene.

Officers said Erickson had just left Farnesi's restaurant in Chowchilla prior to the crash.

Erickson is scheduled for sentencing April 10 and faces up to 12 years in state prison, prosecutors said.

"Drunk driving on the roads and highways of Madera County is a serious criminal offense which results in serious punishment," District Attorney David Linn said in a statement.

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