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Watsonville man convicted in deadly DUI crash near Pajaro that killed a 22-year-old man

fatal car crash

PAJARO, Calif. (KION) UPDATE 4/5/2023 3:39 P.M. - Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni announced Wednesday that a 48-year-old man from Watsonville pleaded no-contest to one count of gross vehicular manslaughter.

On June 13, 2021, Israel Cruz was going east in a Toyota Tundra on Hall Road, west of Elkhorn Road, near Pajaro, at around midnight. Pacioni said Cruz was so intoxicated that he crossed teh center line and hit an oncoming Toyota Camry head-on.

Cesar Martinez, 22, was killed in the crash, and a passenger in his Camry suffered minor injuries, said Pacioni. The California Highway Patrol arrived at the scene and said that Cruz appeared to be drunk.

His blood alcohol level was registered to be .250, over three times the legal limit.

Cruz faces up to 10 years and eight months in state prison when he is sentenced on May 24.

Watsonville resident killed in suspected DUI crash on Hall Road

UPDATE 6/15/2021 3:30 p.m. One person died and one was arrested following a crash on Hall Road just after midnight on Sunday.

The California Highway Patrol reports that a 2004 Toyota pickup was heading east on the road near Elkhorn when the driver, identified as 47-year-old Israel Cruz, crossed the double yellow lines into the westbound lanes.

The pickup reportedly sideswiped a Volvo sedan before hitting a 1992 Toyota sedan head-on, causing the sedan to overturn and hit a fourth vehicle, a Honda sedan. The driver of the Toyota sedan, who has not been identified, died of their injuries at the scene.

Cruz was arrested, but he is still in critical condition, and the other people involved had minor injuries. The CHP believes drugs and/or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

PREVIOUS STORY: One person is dead after a car collided with on-coming traffic just after midnight Sunday.

The California Highway Patrol says the car was heading eastbound along Hall Road when it crossed the double yellow lines and moved into oncoming traffic, crashing into three cars as it did so.

One person was killed.

The driver was taken into custody. They have been charged with DUI and vehicular manslaughter.

Article Topic Follows: Monterey County

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Amelia Rosenberg

Amelia Rosenberg is a weekend producer at KION News Channel 5/46.

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Ricardo Tovar

Assignment/ Web Manager for KION News Channel 5/46 and Telemundo 23


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