Jury finds Lopez guilty

Convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter for 2016 DUI crash

COUNTY — After being unable to reach a verdict on a charge of murder on Sept. 5, a jury convicted Gino Lopez, 23, of felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for the 2016 traffic collision that killed 16-year-old Grizzly Academy graduate Emily Monique Reyes on the Cuesta grade.
A San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Jury found Lopez, guilty of the following felonies on the fourth day of deliberations: gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with an enhancement for fleeing the scene of the crime; driving under the influence of alcohol with an enhancement for causing great bodily injury to more than one victim; and leaving the scene of an accident. Lopez was the intoxicated driver of a vehicle carrying passenger Reyes, who died of her injuries sustained in a collision on the Cuesta grade on April 15, 2016.
“The tragic and completely avoidable death of young Ms. Reyes is a sobering reminder that driving under the influence is deadly dangerous and will not be tolerated in San Luis Obispo County,” said SLO County District Attorney Dan Dow. “We are thankful for the difficult work carried out by this jury and we respect the fact that they were unable to reach a verdict on the charge of murder. The guilty verdicts are a just outcome and Mr. Lopez will no doubt carry the weight of his actions for the rest of his life.”
On April 15, 2016, Lopez was driving South on Highway 101 toward San Luis Obispo at a very excessive speed. Just south of TV Tower Road on the Cuesta Grade, he performed an unsafe turning maneuver that sent his 1994 Honda Civic into the guardrail and, ultimately, into another vehicle also traveling southbound on Highway 101. The defendant’s vehicle was struck by an oncoming vehicle and his passenger, Reyes, was ejected from the vehicle.
She later succumbed to her serious injuries. Lopez’s other passengers suffered bodily injuries. Lopez and one passenger fled the scene on foot and the defendant was arrested shortly thereafter by California Highway Patrol officers.
Lopez had previously been convicted, while he was under 21 years of age, of driving a vehicle with more than a .05 percent of alcohol in his blood and for driving while his license was suspended.
Lopez faces a sentence of up to 15 years in state prison. The sentencing for Lopez is scheduled for Oct. 3, at 8:30 a.m. in Department 8 of the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court with Judge Matthew Guerrero presiding. Lopez was remanded without bail to the custody of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office pending sentencing.
The case was investigated by the California Highway Patrol and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Danielle Wheeler and Michael Frye.


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