Gilroy man dies in drunk driving crash

A 25-year-old Gilroy man was arrested for felony DUI when he crashed his car northeast of Gilroy, killing his passenger at 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7. 

Gilroy resident Juan Valencia, 30, died at the scene when the driver, David Lopez, was traveling southbound on Center Avenue in the dark at an “unsafe speed,” according to the California Highway Patrol. He failed to turn a sharp corner and spun his 1992 Honda Civic out of control before colliding into a utility pole. 

Lopez was transported to Valley Medical Center for major injuries and was later arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence.

CHP Officer Erica Elias said that manslaughter or murder charges are “definitely” on the table for Lopez. 

“We’ll give him the maximum charges we think we can, and then it’s up the the District Attorney to decide how to prosecute,” Elias said. 

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