Trial Set for Man Accused of Killing Woman in Drunken Crash

MURRIETA – A Nov. 18 trial date was confirmed today for a Hemet man accused of killing a woman and injuring two other people when he plowed through a red light in a drunken stupor.

Sergio Solano Morales of Hemet could face more than 20 years in prison if convicted in the three-vehicle collision last Sept. 30 that killed 30-year- old Marissa Duran.

Morales is charged with second-degree murder, DUI gross vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run resulting in death, driving on a suspended license and sentence-enhancing allegations of inflicting great bodily injury, fleeing a hit-and-run crash and victimizing multiple people in the same crime.

During a status hearing at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Judith Clark scheduled trial for the third week in November after the prosecution and defense agreed to be ready to proceed at that time.

Morales, meanwhile, remains in custody in lieu of $5 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center.

According to Hemet police Sgt. Randy Young, the defendant allegedly ran a red light while headed eastbound on Florida Avenue and slammed his pickup truck into two cars going north on State Street.

Three people, including Duran, were in the two vehicles. She was airlifted to Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where she died an hour later.

The other two victims were transported to hospitals with various injuries, from which they have since recovered, police said.

Morales fled the scene of the afternoon crash, running away barefoot, according to Young.

He said witnesses spotted the defendant trying to hide about three blocks away, in the 100 block of North Juanita Street, near Hemet City Hall.Officers were alerted and immediately arrested him without incident.

MURRIETA – A Hemet man who allegedly plowed through a red light while drunk, smashing into two cars and killing the driver of one, pleaded not guilty today to second-degree murder and other felonies.

Sergio Solano Morales of Hemet could face more than 20 years in prison if convicted in the Sept. 30 wreck that killed 30-year-old Marissa Duran and injured two other people.

Along with murder, Morales is charged with DUI gross vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run resulting in death, driving on a suspended license and sentence-enhancing allegations of inflicting great bodily injury, fleeing a hit-and-run crash and victimizing multiple people in the same crime.

Morales appeared today before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Elaine Johnson, who set a felony settlement conference in the case for Nov. 2. She also left his bail at $5 million. The defendant is being held at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.

According to Hemet police Sgt. Randy Young, on the afternoon of Sept. 30, Morales allegedly ran a red light while headed eastbound on Florida Avenue and slammed his pickup truck into two cars going north on State Street.

Three people, including Duran, were in the two vehicles. She was airlifted to Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where she died about an hour later.

The other two victims were taken to hospitals with various injuries, from which they’re recovering, police said. Morales fled the crash, running away barefoot, according to Young.

He said witnesses spotted the defendant trying to hide about three blocks away, in the 100 block of North Juanita Street, near Hemet City Hall. Officers were alerted and immediately arrested him without incident.

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