Temecula man charged with killing woman in French Valley DUI wreck


MURRIETA (CNS) – Bail was set at $1 million today for a convicted drunken driver accused of killing a 43-year-old woman in a DUI collision in French Valley at the start of Memorial Day weekend.
Joshua Asimovic Morris, 34, of Temecula Morris has been held at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta since the crash last Friday afternoon that killed Amy Litteral of Winchester.
Morris made his initial court appearance at the Murrieta courthouse on charges of second-degree murder, DUI gross vehicular manslaughter, DUI resulting in injuries and a sentence-enhancing allegation of fleeing the scene of a collision.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Stephen Gallon appointed him a public defender and set bail. The defendant’s arraignment date was expected to be published later this afternoon.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Morris was going south on Winchester Road in excess of the speed limit in his 2020 Kia Optima about 4 p.m. when he entered the left turn lane for Thompson Road and allegedly did not slow when he came upon Litteral’s 2017 Ford Fusion directly in front of him, in the same lane.
Officer Mike Lassig said the Kia slammed into the rear of the Ford, pushing the sedan “into the intersection, where it collided into a 2016 Toyota Corolla, which was turning eastbound to northbound Winchester from Max Gillis Road.”
The defendant allegedly tried to run away but was unable to do so.
Riverside County Fire Department paramedics reached the scene within a few minutes and found Litteral in grave condition. She was taken to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, where she died a half-hour later, according to Lassig.
He said the 39-year-old woman riding with Morris suffered minor injuries and was treated at Inland Valley.
The defendant was not hurt, nor was the 23-year-old woman at the wheel of the Ford.
According to court records, Morris has a prior misdemeanor DUI conviction from 2017. Under California law, a convicted DUI offender who is aware of the risks of drinking and driving and then causes someone’s death because of it can be charged with murder.