Clovis News

No-contest plea in Fresno fatal DUI

A Fresno man pleaded no contest Friday to drunken driving and four other felony charges in connection with a traffic collision that ended up killing two people, including a drug counselor.

Jose Calderon took responsibility for his actions to give justice to the families and friends of the victims, said attorney Sam Salhab, who represented Calderon in Fresno County Superior Court.

"He has been remorseful since the day it happened," Salhab said outside court. "He knows he can never make it up to them."

In front of his family and friends, Calderon, 25, pleaded no contest to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, two counts of drunken driving and one count of felony hit and run.

Judge Jon Nick Kapetan indicated that he will sentence Calderon to 17 years in prison.

Calderon had a blood-alcohol level of .22, or nearly three times the legal limit to drive, when he rear-ended a motorcycle on McKinley Avenue near Blackstone Avenue shortly before 11 p.m. on April 16, Salhab said.

Calderon drove off and then abandoned his car, but officers were able to capture him later that night, police said.

The driver of the motorcycle, Kenneth Klein, 54, of Clovis, died of his injuries three days later. Jeri Lyn Perry, a passenger on the motorcycle, died May 7.

Klein was a counselor for Madera County Behavioral Health Services and Kings View Community Services, his relatives said. Two hours before the collision, he was helping people in a DUI program, they said.

Perry, of San Jose, was visiting Klein. She has a son.

Salhab said Calderon was married with two children. His wife is pregnant.

"It's a devastating case for the victims -- and for his own family," Salhab said.

Calderon will be sentenced Aug. 27.

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