A 48-year-old Watsonville man pleaded no contest Wednesday to charges he was intoxicated when he caused a crash in 2021 that killed another man, prosecutors said.
Israel Cruz pled no contest to one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one count of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, according to an announcement Wednesday from the Monterey County District Attorney’s office.
Prosecutors said that just after midnight on June 13, 2021, Cruz was traveling eastbound on Hall Road in a Toyota Tundra pickup truck just west of Elkhorn Road in an unincorporated area of Monterey County.
Due to alcohol impairment, Cruz swerved across the centerline of the road and struck head-on an oncoming Toyota Camry driven by Cesar Martinez, 22, who was killed in the collision, according to the announcement.
The crash also injured a passenger in Martinez’s car and occupants of a second vehicle involved.
Responding officers from the California Highway Patrol observed that Cruz appeared to be impaired and a blood-alcohol test measured Cruz’s level at .25, more than three times the legal limit, prosecutors said.
Cruz is set to be sentenced May 24, when he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in state prison.
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