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Sacramento driver guilty of murder in drunken I-80 crash that killed 4

Contra Costa County deputy DA calls deadly DUI case ‘horrific’

​Bail was set at $4.2 million Thursday for the Sacramento man prosecutors say was drunk when he plowed his Mercedes into a sedan near San Pablo late Saturday, killing two pairs of fathers and sons and injuring other motorists. Deputy District Atto
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​Bail was set at $4.2 million Thursday for the Sacramento man prosecutors say was drunk when he plowed his Mercedes into a sedan near San Pablo late Saturday, killing two pairs of fathers and sons and injuring other motorists. Deputy District Atto

Fred Lowe, the Sacramento serial drunken driver who killed two pairs of fathers and sons and injured six others in a violent Bay Area collision in 2017, was convicted of four counts of murder Monday in a Martinez courtroom.

Lowe, 48, could face four consecutive life sentences in state prison when he is sentenced March 29 before Contra Costa Superior Court Judge John Kennedy.

Jurors needed little more than a day to find Lowe guilty.

The crime shocked for its ferocity and sudden, random toll: fathers Daryl Horn, 50, and Troy Biddle, 52, Horn’s son, Joe, 14, and Biddle’s son, Baden, 12, were killed when Lowe sideswiped them as he careened down eastbound Interstate 80 near San Pablo Dam Road.

Lowe’s blood alcohol content was 0.24, said Contra County Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts. The collision served as a violent end to a driving record marred by a string of arrests, license suspensions and jail time in Sacramento County stretching back to 1999.

Lowe’s license had been suspended five times; he was convicted three times of driving under the influence, according to state Department of Motor Vehicles and Sacramento Superior Court records. He was ordered to have an interlock ignition control device installed in his car.

When Lowe lost his license, he continued to drive without one, applying for a California identification card, Butts said. Prosecutors said he had a suspended license when he was behind the wheel Nov. 25, 2017.

“He had too much before the incident. He was unable to stay in the lanes of traffic. He sideswipes the family car,” Butts said. “It doesn’t get any worse than this. I can’t describe the scope of this tragedy.”

Lowe had narrowly missed other motorists before slamming into the Horns’ vehicle. Horn’s son, Jared, a pitching standout at the University of California, Berkeley, was the only one in the car to survive.

The force of the crash sent Horn’s sedan tumbling over the center median and into westbound traffic, where it struck other vehicles injuring another five people.

Lowe managed to keep his sedan upright and on the road long enough to escape off of a freeway exit. Lowe abandoned his car and tried to flee but was soon arrested by authorities.

“It’s incomprehensible,” Butts said. “He had no care for the safety of others with tragic results.”

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Darrell Smith is The Sacramento Bee’s courts reporter. He joined The Bee in 2006 and previously worked at newspapers in Palm Springs, Colorado Springs, Colo., and Marysville. A Sacramento Valley native, Smith was born and raised at Beale Air Force Base, near Marysville.


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