Conviction Upheld In ’07 Sonoma DUI Crash Which Killed 5

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A state appeals court in San Francisco has upheld a Windsor man’s conviction on five counts of vehicular manslaughter in connection in a 2007 freeway crash that killed five members of a family.

Ryan Karr, 29, was convicted in Sonoma County Superior Court in 2010 of five felony counts of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated without gross negligence.

Evidence at the trial showed that he had marijuana and cocaine in his system and was traveling an estimated 62 to 72 miles per hour when his Mitsubishi Eclipse crashed into a Honda Civic during evening rush-hour traffic on U.S. Highway 101 south of Windsor on Jan. 19, 2007.

The Honda Civic burst into flames. Those who died were Edith Carlos Medina, 23; her son Fernando Flores-Carlos, 7; a grandmother, Maria Lopez-Camacho, 54; and two aunts, Almadelia Mendera-Basurto, 16; and Carmina Solorio, 23.

A sixth passenger in the car, then-4-year-old Christian Flores Camacho, was rescued by passing motorists. He survived but was severely burned and lost an ear, an arm and a leg.

Karr, who told officers he had momentarily stopped paying attention, was sentenced to four years in prison.

The conviction was unanimously upheld Thursday by a three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeal, which rejected Karr’s claim of an error in jury instructions during the trial.

Justice Robert Dondero wrote, “Overwhelming evidence was presented to the jury that defendant’s negligent commission of an excessive speed infraction was a proximate cause of the accident and the death of the five victims.”

Joseph Shevelson, Karr’s lawyer in the appeal, said he is likely to appeal to the California Supreme Court.

Karr was taken into custody after the jury announced its verdict in January 2010 and was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Rene Chouteau in March 2010.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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