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SOLEDAD — Soledad resident David Merino Ramirez, 32, was sentenced April 11 to 15-years-to-life in state prison after a jury in February convicted him of murder and vehicular manslaughter.

On Aug. 21, 2020, around 9 p.m., Ramirez was driving northbound at speeds exceeding 80mph on Metz Road between the cities of Greenfield and Soledad.

Due to his excessive speed and level of intoxication, Ramirez lost control, striking a dirt embankment and flipping his car upside down. His passenger, Noe Santillan, 26, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash by first responders.

California Highway Patrol officers arrived on the scene shortly after the crash. After conducting a series of field sobriety tests, police determined that Ramirez was under the influence of alcohol. A subsequent breath test showed that he had a blood alcohol level of .17, over twice the legal limit.

Jurors also heard that Ramirez had suffered two prior convictions for driving under the influence, in 2015 and 2019. They also heard that when he was sentenced on those cases, he was warned that operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol is inherently dangerous to human life, and that should he continue to do so and a person were killed, he could be charged with murder.

This case was investigated by the California Highway Patrol and prosecuted by the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office specialized DUI Vertical Prosecution Unit. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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