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Judge Upholds Murder Charge For Sonora Man

Sonora, CA — A Tuolumne County judge has ruled that there is sufficient evidence to try a Sonora man on second degree murder charges stemming from a fatal car accident last month.

Prosecutors contend that 34-year-old Mark Hernandez had a blood alcohol content of three times the legal limit when he drove his car into the rear end of a stopped pick up truck on Tuolumne Road at a high rate of speed.

Police say the impact of the crash knocked the truck 200 feet across a parking lot and killed 71-year-old David Lomeli.

Prosecutors are pursuing the murder count because Hernandez has two previous drunk driving convictions and was facing a third charge when the accident occurred.

The judge denied a motion by the defense to reduce the charge to vehicular manslaughter.

Hernandez remains in custody in Tuolumne County Jail.