Crime

Man sentenced to five years for deadly Cathedral City DUI crash

A man whose blood-alcohol level was measured at more than three times the legal limit after Cathedral City crash that killed his passenger pleaded guilty today to a DUI charge and was immediately sentenced to five years in state prison.

Mario Garcia, 46, of Cathedral City, suffered minor injuries in the Oct. 16 rollover crash that killed 45-year-old Cathedral City resident Lenette Saubel.

Officers found his car overturned in the northbound lanes of Date Palm Drive, near Tachevah Drive and Tortuga Road, at 2:04 a.m., and Saubel was pronounced dead at the scene.

Garcia was arrested at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, where his blood-alcohol level was measured at more than three times the legal limit of .08 percent, according to Cathedral City Police Chief Travis Walker.

Prosecutors charged Garcia with DUI gross vehicular manslaughter, but dismissed that count at sentencing in exchange for Garcia's guilty plea to DUI causing injury with a sentence-enhancing allegation of causing great bodily injury.

Riverside County District Attorney's spokesman John Hall said state sentencing mechanisms dictate that Garcia "will potentially serve more prison time based on this plea agreement than if he had pled or been sentenced to the vehicular manslaughter count.'' He also said the District Attorney's Office 
consulted with Saubel's family in negotiating the five-year sentence.

"We believe this was the best outcome for this case,'' Hall said.

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Download the KESQ News Channel app on iTunes or Google Play for up-to-the-minute breaking news alerts & more

More: Today’s Top Stories

First Alert Forecast

More: I-Team investigations

Find us on Facebook: KESQ News Channel 3 

Follow us on Twitter for breaking news updates: @KESQ  

We’re on Instagram! @KESQ_News_Channel_3

Watch live newscasts

Noticias en español: Telemundo 15

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