Jefferson Cortez was identified as the driver of a vehicle that was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Del Paso Boulevard about 1:30 a.m. when his car struck two other vehicles, said Officer Lizz Dutton, California Highway Patrol spokeswoman.
Sanching Saetern, 23, of Sacramento, the driver of a Toyota Corolla that was struck by Cortez’s vehicle, died at the scene. A family in a sport-utility vehicle suffered minor injuries.
Dutton said the CHP recommended charging Cortez with DUI resulting in death, gross vehicular manslaughter, driving the wrong way on a divided highway causing death, possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and being under the influence of methamphetamine.
According to Sacramento Superior Court online records, Cortez, 26, has a history of offenses dating back to 2008. He is charged in this case with murder, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with injury, and import, sale or transportation of a controlled substance. He is being held in Sacramento County jail without bail, and his next court date is Nov. 5.
Michael Almeda, 20, and Rodolfo Villa, 23, are being held in Sacramento County jail without bail in connection with the shooting death of 21-year-old Alexander Brian Chavez.
Both are charged with murder and discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle, according to Sacramento Superior Court online records. Their trial is scheduled for April 9, 2014.
Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies responded about 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17 to reports of shots fired and found Chavez unresponsive in the driver’s seat of a Chevrolet Suburban.
The sport-utility vehicle was stopped in the middle of the road, facing north on Westporter Drive at Lilibet Avenue. A female passenger in the SUV at the time of the shooting was not injured.
Sheriff’s officials said the initial investigation revealed that another vehicle was seen speeding from the scene just after shots were fired.