Drunken motorist who caused fatal crash sentenced

RIVERSIDE – A drunken and drug-impaired driver who caused a head- on crash near Perris that killed a 62-year-old man was sentenced today to 13 years, eight months in prison.

Andre Elgin Williams, 41, killed Jose Hernandez of Perris in a Nov. 14, 2013, collision that also put the defendant’s 2-year-old son in danger.

Williams pleaded guilty on Nov. 19 to gross vehicular manslaughter, felony driving under the influence and child endangerment, and in exchange for his plea, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office dropped a charge of second-degree murder.

However, less than a month later, toxicology results showed Williams was not only inebriated from drinking alcohol, but also had marijuana in his bloodstream at the time of the crash. Based on the new information, prosecutors sought and received court approval to set aside the earlier plea agreement and filed an amended complaint against Williams.

On March 7, Williams pleaded guilty to the same charges as before — as well as a count of DUI resulting in injuries and a sentence-enhancing allegation of inflicting great bodily injury. Riverside County Superior Court Judge W. Charles Morgan certified the revised plea agreement today and imposed the sentence to which the prosecution and defense agreed.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Williams was heading southbound on Old Elsinore Road, near Michael Road, around 1:15 p.m. when he steered his 2004 Dodge Ram pickup truck across the double yellow lines into the opposing traffic lane.

Williams had his son strapped into a child safety seat in the back of the truck, said CHP Officer Travis Monks.

Monks said that after the Dodge crossed into the northbound lane, it plowed head-on into Hernandez’s 1997 GMC pickup, triggering a fire on the roadway and leaving the mortally injured victim trapped inside his vehicle.

Crews arrived moments later, extinguished the flames and freed Hernandez, who was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

Williams was so intoxicated, he failed to remove his son from the wreckage until he was reminded by a witness that the boy was still inside the pickup, according to Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beecham.

The defendant suffered moderate injuries, while his son escaped unharmed.

He was taken to Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where he was arrested after receiving treatment.

His son was placed in the care of family members.

Williams has a prior misdemeanor DUI conviction from 2000.

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