A Bakersfield man with a history of dangerous driving was convicted of second-degree murder Friday for causing a deadly accident at a construction site while under the influence of prescription drugs.
Jerad Cross, 32, plowed a pickup into a vehicle driven by Clovis resident Richard Gamez, 45, who was stopped at a construction site near Paso Robles on Nov. 7, 2012. The impact rammed Gamez into a semitrailer stopped in front of him.
Cross, whose driving record included three at-fault accidents, five speeding tickets and a previous DUI, was driving with a suspended license at the time.
Deputy District Attorney Matt Kraut said the prescription medication Cross had taken that morning included a warning not to drive. Yet he still took the wheel of a truck that was hauling two large storage containers.
Cross' murder conviction — a rarity in vehicular death cases — came after a two-week jury trial, which included testimony from the defendant and witnesses who were at the site.
Gamez is survived by a wife, who attended the trial, and a son.
Cross, who also was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving with a suspended license and possession of drug paraphernalia, faces a possible life prison term when he is sentenced Dec. 18.