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Santa Rosa Man Gets 19 Years For Fatal DUI

The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office told that on Thursday, a Santa Rosa man was sentenced to more than 19 years in jail as he was the reason of the death of a passenger travelling in a Ford Explorer he was driving when he crashed into a tree in Rohnert Park while under the influence of alcohol. The accident happened in 2014.

24-year-old Rafael Prieto-Gonzalez was sentenced to 19 years and 4 months by Judge Jaime Thistlethwaite. The sentencing time period is as expected after he reached a plea deal with prosecutors in the month of February. On 28th of February 2014, Prieto-Gonzalez crashed into a tree on northbound Commerce Boulevard in Rohnert Park around 8 p.m. due to which 44-year-old Abel Acosta died.

According to prosecutors, he had taken the Ford Explorer and a wallet from a man at a Santa Rosa pool hall. He and Acosta drove the Explorer to another pool hall in Cotati and then drove to Rohnert Park together, where Prieto-Gonzalez lost control of the motor vehicle and the accident happened.

Witnesses heard Prieto-Gonzalez screaming for assistance after the accident. When they managed to pull him out of the damaged motor vehicle, he escaped from the accident scene and hid in a nearby neighborhood. He was found several blocks away from the accident spot. Police found his BAC at 0.17 percent when he was taken into custody.

Prosecutors said that Prieto-Gonzalez must serve 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole and after being released, if he is arrested for a DUI offense, then it will be charged as felony.

“The family of the deceased victim, Abel Acosta, was satisfied with this disposition. … It holds the defendant responsible for very poor choices that resulted in tragic consequences,” said District Attorney Jill Ravitch in a statement.

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