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Man taken into custody after fatal accident

A 19-year-old California man is facing felony drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter charges after an accident in Santa Clara County on the afternoon of June 12 claimed the life of a cyclist. The accident took place on the San Tomas Expressway in Campbell. After being taken into custody and processed, the man was taken to the Santa Clara County Jail.

According to a report released by the California Highway Patrol, the man was proceeding northbound on the San Thomas Expressway when he lost control of his Ford Mustang in the vicinity of Winchester Boulevard. Law enforcement authorities said that the man was speeding down a hill at the time. His car then hit a cyclist and collided with the concrete center divider before coming to a stop. The cyclist, a 32-year-old San Jose man, was ejected from his bicycle and landed on the northbound right shoulder.

The cyclist was pronounced dead after emergency medical services personnel arrived at the scene. Initial reports did not indicate what may have caused responding police officers to determine that the man was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

California motorists may face felony DUI charges when they are accused of causing an accident that results in a serious injury or a fatality or if they have a number of prior drunk driving convictions. The penalties for felony DUI are severe, but prosecutors must establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt if they are to secure a conviction. This can sometimes be difficult as toxicology test results may not always be reliable and the accuracy of police reports could be challenged. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to have felony DUI charges reduced during plea negotiations, and prosecutors with heavy caseloads sometimes will agree to accept a plea of guilty to a lesser count to avoid the expense and uncertain outcome of a trial.

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