Driver in fatal wrong-way crash pleads no contest

SANTA ROSA, CA

Deputy District Attorney Karina Kowler said the defendant, Jose M. Botello-Soto, 26, pleaded no contest in Sonoma County Superior Court on Tuesday. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in January, she said.

Botello-Soto allegedly drove the wrong way up the Old Redwood Highway off-ramp onto southbound U.S. Highway 101 in Healdsburg at about 9 p.m. on Oct. 30, according to the California Highway Patrol.

As he drove north, his 1991 Explorer struck a southbound 2008 Honda Civic driven by 26-year-old Cloverdale resident Crystal Carillo-Martinez, the CHP reported.

The impact sent the Honda crashing into the guardrail in the center median, according to the CHP. Carillo-Martinez was pronounced dead at the scene.

Botello-Soto suffered minor injuries and was treated at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital before he was booked into the Sonoma County jail.

He was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence, DUI causing death, and driving the wrong way on a divided highway causing death. He is being held without bail in Sonoma County jail.

Kowler said the DUI and driving-the-wrong-way charges will be dismissed at sentencing, which is scheduled for Jan. 19.

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