Repeat O.C. DUI Convict Charged with Murder in Hit-and-Run Death

Jonathan Lopez, a 31-year-old man from Orange, California, who has been previously convicted for DUI (Driving Under the Influence) five times, was charged with murder today. He was reportedly seen drinking alcohol and showing disrespect to officers after fatally hitting a pedestrian. post-collision, he attempted to escape the police, driving recklessly.

Lopez is facing charges on numerous counts, including one felony count of murder, one felony count of hit and run resulting in permanent injury or death, and one felony count of reckless driving while evading police. Other charges include one felony count of DUI with three or more priors and one felony count of driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher. Additionally, he has been charged with one misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license. If convicted, Lopez could face a maximum sentence of 18 years to life in state prison.

The incident took place on March 12, 2024, when Lopez is alleged to have struck a pedestrian crossing the street on the 500 block of S. Tustin Avenue in Orange around 11:15 a.m. After hitting the man, Lopez reportedly fled the scene but was tracked down by the police and apprehended after a brief high-speed chase.

Lopez’s history of DUI convictions dates back to 2011. He admitted guilt for one felony count of DUI and one felony count of driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or higher, as well as one misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license in December 2021. He was sentenced to 16 months in county jail for these offenses.

District Attorney Todd Spitzer denounced Lopez’s actions, emphasizing that a man lost his life due to someone with a suspended license and extensive DUI history choosing to ignore the risks and dangers of drinking and driving.

Until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court, Lopez is presumed innocent as per the criminal complaint. Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Orue will be prosecuting the case. The identity of the victim has not been revealed yet.

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