Berkeley man charged with manslaughter in fatal crash

Milanca Lopez and her son Xavier at a UC Berkeley graduation ceremony last week

The 24-year old man who crashed a car into a traffic circle in Berkeley on May 18, killing his 22-year old girlfriend and seriously injuring her 6-year old son, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and a series of other felony counts.

Police said Jose Lumbreras of Berkeley had a blood alcohol count of .219, or two and a half times the legal limit, at the time of the 1:15 am accident on California Street near Allston Way. Lumbreras allegedly was driving his Cadillac around 64 mph on the residential street when he crashed the car into the traffic circle. It went airborne, and collided with a tree. There were no skid marks at the scene, which suggests Lumbreras did not brake, said Sgt. Mary Kusmiss of the Berkeley Police Department.

Lumbreras remains in the hospital with serious injuries but was arrested there Tuesday, according to police.

Milanca Lopez, who had just graduated from UC Berkeley days earlier and lived in University Village in Albany with her son, was sitting in the front seat and was not wearing a seat belt, according to police. She died at the scene as a result of her injuries.


Her son, Xavier, was wearing a seat belt in the back of the car, said police. He is in a coma on life support at Children’s Hospital with “minor brain function,” according to court documents. He is also paralyzed.

Lumbreras was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, drunken driving causing injury and enhancements for allegedly causing Xavier “to become comatose due to brain injury and to suffer paralysis,” according to court documents.

A memorial Facebook page set up for Lopez shows her and Xavier dressed in matching graduation outfits. Lopez, who majored in Chicano studies and social welfare at Cal, was planning to attend UCLA graduate school in fall. Donations to the Milanca Lopez fund can be sent to the Milanca Alicia Lopez Family Fund. [Update, May 24: Xavier’s father, Javier Chevez, has also set up a fundraising site for his son.]

Lumbreras, Lopez, and Xavier were living together in the 2200 block of Curtis, said Sgt. Kusmiss. Lumbreras was raising the 6-year as well.

Read the court documents.


Related:
Car strikes tree in central Berkeley, kills one, injures two [05.18.12]

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