A man with two drunken driving convictions is now facing murder charges after being accused of driving under the influence and fatally rear ending a college student in south Lodi. Benjamin Serratos III, 29, of Stockton, had just finished posting $178,000 bond, two days after the fatal wreck that killed 19 year old Destanee Arlene Little, also of Stockton.
He is now jailed without bail and is due in court today. Little, who was returning from Lodi where she had attended a ceremony for the International Order of Job’s Daughters, part of the Masons, never made it home. She was driving south on West Lane at approximately 11:50 p.m. when she was allegedly rear ended by Serratos.
Fatal California Car Accident Injures Two
The force of the collision sent her car careening out of control and she slammed into a traffic signal pole, according to the California Highway Patrol. Two passengers were in the car with her that night, her boyfriend, David Heredia, and her close friend Chaunnel Renberg, both 20.
They suffered serious injuries but they were not life-threatening. Serratos allegedly tried to flee the scene of the deadly car accident but was caught and arrested on charges including vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence and hit-and-run.
In 2006 Serratos received his first conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, later that same year he was convicted again for using a watercraft while under the influence of alcohol. Under a state law that went into effect in 2005, Serratos was warned at his convictions that if he was caught driving drunk again and someone died in a car accident, he could be eligible for a murder charge.
California Car Accident Driver Charged With Murder
That possibility came true on Friday, when the District Attorney’s Office filed murder charges against Serratos for the fatal car accident and got a no bail arrest warrant. The CHP arrested Serratos at his Stockton home around 9:10 that night.
Destanee was attending San Joaquin Delta College, and she was studying for a career in law enforcement. Destanee lived just three blocks from her grandmother and was her only granddaughter. Destanee’s grandmother is hoping others learn something from this tragedy.
“The main thing I’d like to get out there is don’t drink. If you do, don’t drive,” she said. “Or drive someone home if they’ve been drinking. It would help the whole world if everyone would do that.” Her grandmother said more than 700 people attended a service for her granddaughter on Thursday.
Contact California Car Accident Lawyer
It lasted more than two hours as many people recalled memories. “She was loved a lot,” Arlene said. “She was a young girl who had so much influence on so many.” My heart goes out to Destanee’s family and friends it’s a tragedy to lose such a young child. If you or a loved one have been involved in a California car accident please contact a qualified California car accident lawyer today at The Law Offices of Nadrich & Cohen, we can help you.