Driver in Fatal DUI Collision Pleads No Contest

Posted: June 04, 2018

DUI driver involved in a head-on collision in which the passenger was killed and the driver injured; plead no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated along with other charges. 

A driver impaired by alcohol who caused the death of female passenger and injury to the driver in a head-on vehicle collision near the town of El Dorado, pleaded no contest to charges filed by the El Dorado County District Attorneys Office. The driver, Adam E. Lara, 35, of Rescue, pled no contest on May 31st to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (Penal Code section 191.5 (a)), driving with a blood alcohol content greater than .08% causing injury (Vehicle Code §23153(b)) and driving on a suspended license (Vehicle Code §14601.2). The case was heard in front of Judge Mark Ralphs in Department 7 of the El Dorado County Superior Court.  Lara also admitted special allegations he had a prior prison commitment, a prior DUI conviction and drove with a blood alcohol level above .15%.  

Just before midnight on February 2nd, Lara allowed his Jeep Cherokee to drift into the opposing traffic lane on a straightaway portion of Mother Lode Drive, east of Greenstone Road. The Cherokee collided with the passenger side of a Toyota Celica going in the opposite direction; instantly killing Ashleigh Harrison and causing minor injuries to the driver, Marissa Killsback, both of Placerville. Soon after, officers responded to the location and noted Lara smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. A blood sample from Lara was subsequently tested and his blood alcohol content registered at over twice the legal limit (.19%). Lara will be sentenced in Department 7 of the El Dorado County Superior Court on July 3rd, 2018. The anticipated sentence for the plea is 11 years in state prison.  

The case was investigated by the California Highway Patrol and El Dorado County Sheriff Office and prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Michael Pizzuti; who is assigned to vertically prosecute felony driving under the influence, vehicular manslaughter and murder cases for the El Dorado County District Attorney Office.