Crime

DA seeks murder charge in Merced County fatal hit-and-run crash

Aunt of fatal Merced County hit-and-run crash victim discusses how the family is coping

The family of Madera 19-year-old Marlyne Vidales still mourns her death on July 31, 2019, as they seek justice against Los Banos man Ivan Andrade, who now faces second-degree murder on top of other felonies.
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The family of Madera 19-year-old Marlyne Vidales still mourns her death on July 31, 2019, as they seek justice against Los Banos man Ivan Andrade, who now faces second-degree murder on top of other felonies.

A Los Banos man was willing to plead guilty Wednesday to several charges, including manslaughter, reckless driving and firearms offenses related to the March 10 hit-and-run death of a 19-year-old woman, his attorney said.

But that was after Merced County Deputy District Attorney Travis Colby filed a notice of intent to charge 21-year-old Ivan Andrade with second-degree murder, after a California Highway Patrol report revealed additional details in the Los Banos crash.

The murder charge means instead of serving a maximum 11 years in prison, Andrade could be imprisoned 15-years to life.

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Los Banos 21-year-old Ivan Andrade listens to his attorney talk with Merced County Judge David Moranda during his July 31, 2019, court hearing at the Los Banos courthouse on vehicular manslaughter, hit and run and several other charges stemming from a March 10, 2019, crash that killed 19-year-old Madera woman Marlyne Vidales. Vikaas Shanker vshanker@mercedsunstar.com

The CHP report showed that electronic data from the 2017 Dodge Charger he was driving clocked him going 150 mph, 1.1 seconds before the collision that killed 19-year-old Marlyne Vidales and severely injured four others, according to the prosecutor’s notice of intent.

The report also shows the vehicle was traveling at 132 mph a tenth of a second before the crash, the notice states.

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Stockton-based attorney Mary Bird talks with Merced County Judge David Moranda during her client, Los Banos 21-year-old Ivan Andrade’s, July 31, 2019, court hearing at the Los Banos courthouse on vehicular manslaughter, hit and run and several other charges stemming from a March 10, 2019, crash that killed 19-year-old Madera woman Marlyne Vidales. Vikaas Shanker vshanker@mercedsunstar.com

Andrade’s attorney, Stockton-based Mary Bird, asked Merced County Judge David Moranda on Wednesday to reject the addition of the murder charge because it wasn’t filed the required week ahead of the scheduled hearing.

Bird said she wasn’t given proper notice to respond to the new charge.

Bird argued the new evidence didn’t significantly change the facts of the case, noting investigation reports already state Andrade may have been driving at 140 mph during the time of the crash.

Bird also said Andrade was willing to accept responsibility. “(Andrade) is willing to plead guilty right now to all (existing) charges,” Bird said.

Colby pushed back, telling Moranda he found out about the new CHP report Tuesday. He said the report presented evidence conclusive enough to add a murder charge.

Colby also said the court shouldn’t allow Andrade the opportunity to plead to the lesser charges. “It would be a miscarriage of justice to the victims’ family,” Colby said.

Moranda continued the hearing to Aug. 7 to allow time for the defense to respond.

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Madera 19-year-old Marlyne Vidales’ family gathers around a flower memorial they made after a July 31, 2019, court hearing on Ivan Andrade, a Los Banos man who is accused of driving 150 mph before he collided into a car on March 10, 2019, killing Vidales and severely injuring four others. Vidales’ family sets flowers at the spot Vidales was killed, the corner of 10th Street and Pacheco Boulevard in Los Banos, after every court hearing. Vikaas Shanker vshanker@mercedsunstar.com

Several members of Vidales’ family were present during the hearing.

“We want justice,” said Yasmin Ledezma, Vidales’ aunt, who saw Andrade’s expressionless face as his case was called.

“It’s just a constant reminder that she’s not here,” Ledezma said. “And it’s a constant reminder that we need to keep on fighting.”

Ledezma’s sister also was severely injured in the collision, appearing in court in a wheelchair.

Bird couldn’t be reached after the hearing.

The 2017 Dodge Charger Andrade was reportedly driving crashed into a white 2017 Nissan Pathfinder near the intersection of Pacheco Boulevard and 10th Street in the early hours of March 10, according to investigation reports.

The collision tore the Nissan into pieces, killing Vidales and severely injuring 20-year-old Alexis Ledezma, passenger Mario Pavia and driver Javier Martinez, who were in the Nissan.

Rodrigo Gonzalez, a passenger in the Charger, also suffered major injuries and was trapped in the vehicle with a semi-automatic rifle on his lap, according to reports. He was extricated at gunpoint and was taken to a hospital.

Andrade reportedly left the scene after the collision. A passenger of the Charger, Elvis Lainez, also left the scene before authorities arrived.

Investigators found a black revolver on the driver side-floorboard of the Charger, reports state. Andrade was found at his Los Banos home later in the day and investigators noticed he had “road rash,” according to the reports.

He was in custody Wednesday at the John Latorraca Correctional Center on a $850,000 bond, jail records state.

Andrade has a lengthy history of traffic offenses, including reckless driving and traffic infractions, according to court records.

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Madera 19-year-old Marlyne Vidales’ family gathers around a flower memorial they made after a July 31, 2019, court hearing on Ivan Andrade, a Los Banos man who is accused of driving 150 mph before he collided into a car on March 10, 2019, killing Vidales and severely injuring four others. Vidales’ family sets flowers at the spot Vidales was killed, the corner of 10th Street and Pacheco Boulevard in Los Banos, after every court hearing. Vikaas Shanker vshanker@mercedsunstar.com

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Vikaas Shanker is an award-winning reporter covering education, crime and courts for the Merced Sun-Star and Los Banos Enterprise. After growing up in Naperville, Illinois and graduating from the University of Kansas, he reported in several Chicago suburbs before moving to Merced County in 2016.
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