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Murder Charge Filed Against DUI Suspect In Death Of Fruit Vendor


SAN JOSE – A murder charge was filed against a recently convicted driving under the influence offender who reportedly consumed 8 beers before crashing into an East San Jose fruit stand vendor, an uncommon charge reserved only for the most outrageous drunken driving cases.

On Wednesday, 25-year-old Marco Chacon Chamale was arraigned in the death of 40-year-old Francisco Hernandez Juarez, whom he struck on Saturday afternoon. The incident happened on South White Road and Mt. Vista Drive. The victim died the same day of the accident.

In June, Chacon was charged with 12 counts, including one count of murder and several counts each of hit-and-run and DUI as well as for driving on a suspended license after a misdemeanor DUI conviction.

The murder charge against Chacon is not common and is not without precedent either in the state or in Santa Clara County. In the year 2013 and in August, Rickey Lartigue was charged with murder after he allegedly struck 43-year-old Willy Umali which resulted in his death; based on him having 6 prior DUI convictions. In the County, there have been some similar cases over the past 6 years.

According to prosecutors, in certain cases, repeat DUI offenders or extensive drug or alcohol use shows a reckless disregard for safety. They are called as Watson murders, named after a murder defendant who had a large number of DUI convictions and subsequent rehabilitation coursework was held up as evidence that he was acutely aware of the dangers of drunken driving.

According to deputy district attorney Michel Amaral, “The egregiousness and totality of Mr. Chacon’s conduct makes this different from a lot of other cases. Because of his recent conviction, he had a clear understanding of what the consequences of driving under the influence were”.

Police told that the incident happened on Saturday when Hernandez was manning his stand around 1:45 p.m., a few blocks to the south, when a 1999 Buick sedan driven by Chacon went out of a liquor store on South White Road and was seen going erratically before it struck a Nissan. The collision caused the Buick to get out of control and veer off the roadway, jump the sidewalk and crash into the stand, which was linked to the victim’s van. Hernandez was pinned underneath the Buick, but Chacon continued driving, dragging Hernandez almost 30 feet from the accident spot. The motor vehicle turned onto Mt. Vista and broke through many fences before crashing into a parked car.

Hernandez and his wife, who was also present at the fruit stand when the accident happened, were rushed to the hospital as they sustained life-threatening injuries. Hernandez died on Sunday.

The officers who responded to the scene told that Chacon smelled of alcohol. He was taken into custody at the accident spot and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries before he was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail, where he is being held without bail. Individuals riding in the Nissan didn’t sustain serious injuries.

Customers from all over East San Jose created and expanded a street vigil at the accident spot, sharing memories of a friendly man with a permanent smile on his face and whose fruit offerings were thought to be among the best in the whole area. Hernandez left behind a wife and 3 young children; the eldest from those is a son whose age is 10.

To support the family of the victim, both the community where Hernandez lived and worked, and his son’s school, Horace Cureton Elementary, are gathering funds. Donations are accepted both online and by mail.

News Source: MarinIJ

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About the Author

My name is Aaron Bortel. I practice in the state of California. I handle DUI cases exclusively and have been practicing for over 25 years.