Gilroy Man Faces Murder Charge in DUI Crash

July 11 crash killed 4-year-old boy

By Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, Oct 21, 2010  |  Updated 12:17 PM PDT
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Gilroy Man Faces Murder Charge in DUI Crash

Lee had a blood alcohol level of about twice the legal limit and might also have been high on meth, according to reports.

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A Gilroy man is facing a murder charge for the drunken driving crash that killed a preschool boy.

Jimmy Francis Lee, 44, will be charged with second-degree murder for the death of 4-year-old Jose Cortez-Diaz. Lee rejected a deal last week that would have given him a prison term of about 30 years but he had to plead guilty to the original charge of gross vehicular manslaughter and two counts of DUI.

He will face the new charges on Oct. 28, at which time his $500,000 bail amount will also be argued. If he's convicted, he could get 15 years to life.

Lee had a blood alcohol level of about twice the legal limit and might also have been high on meth, according to reports.

The fatal crash happened on July 11, when Lee was driving home from a heavy metal concert. The Cortez family was returning to their Gilroy home when they stopped on southbound Highway 101 near Bailey Road to check out noises coming from their pickup truck.

Jose's father, Jesus Cortez, wife and 12-year-old daughter all got out of their vehicle and waitied on the shoulder but Jose was sleeping in his car seat and his father couldn't get the buckle unlatched. That's when Lee's Ford F-150 slammed into the Cortez's pickup truck. The impact dislodged a tool box from the Cortez's truck and it hit Jose in the back of the head, killing him.

Lee has been convicted twice of DUI, accroding to Deputy District Attorney Angela Bernhard.
 

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