Santa Clara crash kills 28-year-old, driver charged with murder, DUI

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- A man is facing murder charges after colliding into a rideshare vehicle, killing one passenger and seriously injuring another. It happened early Sunday morning in Santa Clara.

"The suspect vehicle was driven by a single male adult and was traveling on Lawrence Expressway when he failed to stop at a red light," said Capt. Wahid Kazem, Santa Clara Police Department.

It happened just at about 1:30 AM Sunday, at this intersection of Lawrence Expressway and Poinciana Drive in Santa Clara. That suspect is San Jose resident 32-year-old Claudio Perez-- he was arrested on scene and charged with murder, driving under the influence, auto theft and probation violation.

Perez's vehicle collided with a Lyft, rideshare car. A 28-year-old passenger in the back died in the hospital, another passenger is still in critical condition, while the driver is expected to be okay.

"It's our understanding that the rideshare vehicle was driving within safe speed limits, making a safe legal turning movement, with the traffic light," said Kazem.

Sunnyvale Police had put the suspect's vehicle under surveillance just prior to the crash when they spotted the car in a parking lot on East Duane Avenue and determined that it was stolen. Police even deployed tire deflation devices around the car.

"All four tires of the suspect's vehicle were intact and so that device did not work the way it was supposed to work," said Capt. Craig Robinson with Sunnyvale Police Department.

Sunnyvale Police decided it was too dangerous to pursue the vehicle when it took off from the parking lot. Instead, Sunnyvale PD sent a countywide alert to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

Captain Craig Robinson says he has yet to talk to the victims' family

"We would be happy to sit down and explain to them as I have to you why we did this and just how sorrowful we are that this was the end result of the action of this drunk driver."

Santa Clara police are asking anyone who may have seen the crash to share any information with their department.
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