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December 2, 2022

Greenfield man found guilty of second-degree murder for deadly crash

GREENFIELD — A Monterey County jury found Greenfield resident Baltazar Donato guilty of second-degree murder on Oct. 18.

The jury further found Donato, 28, guilty of additional counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of .08% causing injury, and driving on a suspended license. 

In addition, the jury “found true enhancements for having suffered two prior DUI convictions, causing bodily injury to more than one person, and great bodily injury,” according to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office in a news release.

On the evening of Feb. 2, 2021, Sabrina Lecce was driving on southbound Highway 101 in the San Ardo area when Donato, driving the wrong way on 101, collided head-on with her vehicle. Lecce, 23, was pronounced dead at the scene and her passenger suffered a shoulder injury.

A subsequent blood test showed Donato’s blood alcohol was .19%, over two times the legal limit.

“Evidence from the ‘black’ box in Donato’s car showed he was driving at speeds of 87 miles per hour within seconds of the collision and failed to brake until within 0.2 seconds of the collision,” the release said.

Donato has prior convictions for DUI in Monterey County from 2012 and from Idaho in 2018.

Donato will be sentenced on Nov. 30. Based on the convictions and enhancements found true, he faces a state prison sentence of 15 years to life.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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