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November 27, 2021

Gonzales woman sentenced to prison for fatal DUI crash

GONZALES — A Gonzales woman has been sentenced to six years and eight months in state prison after she drove drunk and crashed her vehicle last October, killing two people, including one of her sons.

Sarah Valdez, 33, pleaded no contest on Nov. 9 to two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one count of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury.

After drinking alcohol at a social gathering on Oct. 25, 2020, at 3:35 a.m., Valdez left Gonzales and headed toward Salinas with her friend Samuel Bravo and her two sons, ages 6 and 8. Driving at speeds over 100 mph, Valdez lost control of the vehicle and crashed off the roadway into an agricultural field, where the vehicle rolled several times.

First responders located Valdez’s vehicle more than 200 feet off the roadway. 

Bravo was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. The two children were rushed to the hospital, where the 6-year-old later died from his injuries. The 8-year-old was treated and recovered.

“After the collision, Valdez was contacted by California Highway Patrol officers who observed that she appeared to be under the influence of alcohol,” according to a news release from the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office. 

Valdez submitted to a breath test and was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .10, above the legal limit of .08.

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