A Visalia man who was already on probation for intoxicated driving when he collided head-on while drunk, killing a woman and injuring five others, was sentenced to 15 years in state prison.
Tulare County Superior Court Judge Michael Sheltzer on Friday sentenced Johnny Mendoza, 27, to 15 years in state prison for DUI manslaughter stemming from the 2016 crash on Highway 65 near Lindsay. In May, Mendoza pleaded no contest to one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
The case included a special allegation of causing injury to more than one person and one count of DUI causing injury with a prior DUI conviction, as well as three special allegations of causing great bodily injury.
Mendoza had a DUI conviction from 2014. He was on probation for that case when the 2016 crash occurred. He also failed to attend DUI classes and did not install a court-required ignition interlock device.
A 42-year-old woman was driving west on Highway 65 near Spruce Avenue with five passengers when they saw Mendoza heading toward them in their lane.
The woman attempted to swerve her van out of the way, but they collided head-on with Mendoza’s vehicle. She later died and all five passengers were hurt in the crash.
Investigation found that Mendoza’s blood-alcohol level was .09 percent, above the state driving limit of .08. He also tested positive for methamphetamine.