CHP Chase Suspect Charged With Murder

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    NEWSLETTERS

    San Jose Mercury News
    July 13, 2010. The black Honda Civic involved in a crash rests on San Frenando St. , near N. 10th St. in San Jose as the San Jose Traffic Investigation Unit collects evidence and takes measurement. A black Honda Civic traveling east on San Fernando St.. being pursued by the CHP, crashed into a red Mitsubishi Mirage traveling South on N. 10th street. A 15-year-old girl was ejected from the Mirage and two boys in the back seat had to be extricated. (LiPo Ching/Mercury News)

     The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office has filed murder  charges against a driver who T-boned a sedan while allegedly feeling highway  patrol officers and killed a 15-year-old girl.

          On Tuesday, 24-year-old Bernandino Cuebas ran a red light and  broadsided a red Mitsubishi Mirage at about 4 p.m. at the intersection of  East San Fernando and South 10th streets, Officer Jose Garcia said.
         
    The impact caused the 15-year-old girl, identified as Leyda  Montufar, to be ejected from the front passenger seat of her mother's sedan.
         
    She suffered traumatic head injuries and died at Santa Clara  Valley Medical Center the following morning.
         
    Montufar's 35-year-old mother was treated for moderate facial  injuries and was released, Garcia said.
         
    The woman's 12-year-old son, Johnny, and 6-year-old daughter,  Nayla, were sitting in the back seat and were also injured. The fire  department used the Jaws of Life to cut through the roof of the car and  extricate the children, Garcia said.
         
    Johnny, who suffered a moderate brain injury, remained  hospitalized in serious condition today. Nayla was treated for a moderate  brain injury and released Wednesday night.
         
    After the crash, Cuebas, who police initially identified as  Bernardino Cuevas, tried to run away, but California Highway Patrol officers  were able to chase him down, Garcia said.
         
    Cuebas had allegedly been fleeing the CHP in a black four-door  Honda Civic at the time of the crash after officers tried to pull him over  for a traffic violation, according to Garcia.
         
    At different points during the pursuit, Cuebas crossed the double  yellow line, exceeded speed limits and ran at least two red lights, according  to a police report.
         
    When an officer asked him why he ran, Cuebas allegedly answered,  "I'm on the run."
         
    He had an outstanding no-bail warrant for his arrest as a parolee  at large, according to the report.
         
    Cuebas and his passenger, a 24-year-old woman identified as Alina  Portela, were taken to the hospital as a precaution. Portela suffered broken  ribs in the crash and was treated and released.
         
    Cuebas was taken to jail upon his release from the hospital.
         
    He is charged with murder, eluding a pursuing peace officer and  causing the death of another person, eluding a pursuing peace officer and  causing serious bodily injury to another person, and hit and run accident  resulting in permanent serious injury or death, according to district  attorney spokeswoman Amy Cornell.
         
    If convicted as charged, he could face 27 years and 8 months to  life in prison, Cornell said.
         
    Cuebas is being held without bail and will be arraigned July 29 in  Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose.
         
    The Police Department's traffic investigation unit is handling the  crash investigation, which could take up to several months, Garcia said.
       
     The CHP is investigating whether the officer who chased the Honda  was acting within the CHP's pursuit protocol, Garcia said.

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