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Dylan Morse sentenced to 12 years, four months for deadly DUI crash

Dylan Morse, son of Merced District Attorney Larry Morse II, was sentenced Wednesday afternoon to 12 years and four months in state prison.

Morse, 18, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a collision that killed one man and injured two other people. He faced a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Judge Kenneth Gnoss said he hoped the sentence would "send a message that we will not tolerate this kind of crime."

California Highway Patrol investigators say Morse was driving drunk on Feb. 14 near Cotati when his car passed through a red light, broadsiding a car driven by 22-year-old Alexander Ruiz. Morse was driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.15 percent, nearly twice the state's legal limit, according to the CHP. Ruiz was pronounced dead at the scene, while his passenger, 25-year-old Vanessa King, received a broken arm and facial lacerations.

During the sentencing, it was learned that Morse had driven Ryne Spitzer, his passenger during the accident, to a DUI class hours before the wreck. Spitzer had been arrested on suspicion of DUI, but the charges were lessened to reckless driving. Spitzer remains in a coma, and is being cared for in a Marin County hospital.

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