6-year-old boy dies of injuries from drunk driving accident

Xavier Chevez died of his injuries on May 25

The 6-year-old boy who was in a car that hit a traffic roundabout at 64 miles per hour and rammed into a tree died of his injuries on Friday.

Xavier Chevez died at 6:30 p.m. at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, according to the Alameda County Coroner’s office. He had lingered seven days after the May 18 accident, but was in a coma on life support with minimal brain function.

His mother, Milanca Alicia Lopez, a UC Berkeley student who was planning to attend graduate school at UCLA this fall, died at the scene.

The driver, Jose Lumbreras, 24, of Berkeley, has been charged with drunk driving and gross vehicular manslaughter. More charges may be coming. Prosecutors said he had a blood alcohol level of 0.219%, which is more than twice the legal limit of 0.08%.

Lumbreras, a graduate student at Cal, was living with Lopez and raising Chevez as his own child, according to police. They were driving in a Cadillac north on California Street near Allston Way when Lumbreras crashed into the roundabout and then slammed into a tree. Lopez was not wearing her seatbelt. Xavier was wearing a seatbelt. Lumbreras was also injured in the accident and was arrested while he was in the hospital.

Lopez’s friends have set up a Facebook page in her memory. The photo of Xavier was posted there.

Berkeley man charged with manslaughter in fatal crash [05.23.12]

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

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  • Anonymous

    This was not an accident, it was a wreck caused by a homicidal drunk driver who killed two people.

  • BerkeleyMamaof2


  • Neil

    It should be added that no one in the car was wearing seat belts. How smart was that?

  • MFox327

    According to this article, Xavier was wearing a seatbelt. See fifth paragraph.

  • bystander

    At least this time no innocent bystanders were hit.

  • bgal4

    In a twisted kind of irony, Jose was  educated in CA finest universities and mentored by an ex-Oakland gang member turned academic, whose studies and advocacy are in support of inner city youth allegedly marginalized by racism and the criminal justice system. Rather than helping youth understand the choices they make Jose will be spending a lot of years in prison considering his own poor decision.

  • Neil

    This was a horrible tragedy. The two deaths may have been avoided if the mother and her son were wearing seat belts. 
    Although the 6 year old child had an standard seat belt around his waist, the seat belt was designed for passengers typically 12 years old and older. In the State of California it is the law that children be secured in a booster seat and a seat belt. There is a reason for that. An adult seat belt is not sufficient protection for a child. The child can be ejected from the seat belt because it is too big to hold a child securely. 

  • Heather_W_62

    Throw the book at the S.O.B. who was driving. 

  • Anonymous

     Seat belts, car seats, and air bags won’t do much when a car going 60mph hits a tree or wall.

  • I think I met this little boy.  I played a game of pretend with him. I am bereft.

  • Guest

    64 MPH in a 25 MPH zone and 2 deaths? IJose Lumbreras,had better never be allowed to drive again.

  • Guest

    True, California is supposed to be safe for bicyclists. Not so much if some asshole is going 64 MPH.

  • Neil

    You make a good point… except that the drunk driver, who was not wearing a seat belt survived the horrific crash.

  • Heather_W_62

    Thank God it happened in the middle of the night, or who knows how many others could have been in the way of that car. 

  • Guest

     Was he not wearing a seat belt? The article only states that Lopez was not and that her son was (and, as you’ve pointed out, he should have been in a booster seat or, even better, in a forward-facing 5-point harness car seat).

  • JW

     He was on the side away from the tree.

  • Guest

    Just pity all of them. I know the driver caused it, but with a blood alcohol level like that he was not really in control. Now he gets to live with the consequences, cold sober. 

  • MarkH


  • Willtheluddite

    Where did the accident happen?  Was it one of the City of Berkeley planters in the middle of an intersection?  What caused the car to swerve into a tree?  Did it hit a solid object causing the car to veer into the tree or did the driver drive the car into a tree? The article doesn’t tell us any of this, I think. 

  • Willtheluddite: This is the third article we have run on this accident. If you click on the links to the previous articles you will find all the details.

  • Another BUSD parent

    Tragic. Senseless. 2 lives lost, and one life wasted in jail (most likely) as he considers the consequences of his actions.

  • Anonymous

    Unless people held him down and poured booze down his throat then him being drunk doesn’t mitigate anything.

  • Anonymous

    Hopefully his example will help some of those youths understand that we’re responsible for our actions to the extent that we can predict their likely outcomes but I doubt it. As long as cases like this continue to be written off as “accidents”, no different than slipping on a banana peel or tripping on stairs, we might as well be blaming them on spiteful gods or bad luck.

  • Anonymous

    That’s just the universe giving a demonstration proof of the non-existence of a god. From the original pictures it looked like it was the passenger side that hit the tree but it was such a tangled mess it’s hard to tell. Mythbusters demonstrated two cars colliding at 60 MPH which is a reasonable approximation for this wreck, worth watching.

  • Wandawoman510

    Awwwee. Poor little thing. I was rooting for his recovery. 

  • tenjen

     Just two innocent passengers.

  • tenjen

     Shoulda, coulda, woulda. This is just a sickening tragedy.

  • bgal4


    The biggest tragedy here is that the accident could have easily been prevented.

  • serkes

    Driving at almost 3x the legal blood alcohol limit … part of the driver’s punishment should be to have this photo of Xavier posted everywhere he looks.


  • Last week I passed the memorial at the base of the tree and wondered what it had happened there. My attention was drawn to the Berkeley police motorcycle parked across the street. Standing beside it, and facing the memorial was a police officer, hands folded in front of himself, head bowed. Maybe he was just posted there to watch over the memorial, but I think perhaps he had stopped there to say a prayer.

  • Susan Solomon

    I keep repeating on this blog that one of the bloggers here did some research and found that the car involved in this accident had some history of a sticking accelerator pedal. If you look at the police blotter crimes and incidents reported, you’ll see dozens of very drunk drivers arrested frequently in Berkeley and environs – my point is, that being drunk in no way explains why this car was traveling so fast. It seems like it might explain it, but really that speed is not often reached by anyone while drunk, especially someone with a totally clean driving record, and a great personal record of working hard and being a good person. I hope the car will be examined carefully, especially circuits that might fail, as the research indicated. It seems a bit sad and unnecessary for readers to become so vengeful about something that in actuality remains a mystery. 

  • serkes

    “Prosecutors said he had a blood alcohol level of 0.219%, which is more than twice the legal limit of 0.08%”

    There is no mystery here.


  • bgal4

    Agree Ira,

    the only mystery is what motivates Susan to write “It seems a bit sad and unnecessary for readers to become so vengeful about something that in actuality remains a mystery.’

    What is sad is her insistence that those of us willing to willing to judge drunk driving as highly problematic behavior must have some ulterior motive such as vengeance.

    Susan stop blaming the messenger.

    Drunk Driving kills, the evidence proves the slogan.

  • Heather_W_62

    Why would you defend someone driving drunk? I don’t care if his foot was crazy glued to the gas pedal, he was driving with over twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system and two people – including a small, helpless child, died as a result of that. 

    I had a clean driving record too until I hit someone. Then it wasn’t clean anymore.

  • Julie
  • lucy b

    Two people dead by a DUI killer is no accident, it’s a choice to break the law be selfish and end in two peoples deaths. AB109 protects these killers calling them non violent non serious offences. How is it non violent or non serious when someone is dead in such a manner ? we need harsher penalties