Contra Costa County deputy DA calls deadly DUI case ‘horrific’
Sacramento man Fred Douglas Lowe was sentenced in Contra Costa County to 135 years to life for killing four people and injuring others in a drunken collision on a busy Bay Area freeway in November 2017.
Jurors at a March trial in Martinez convicted Lowe, 48, of seven felonies – including four counts of murder – in the deaths of Joseph Horn, 14, his father Daryl Horn, 50, 12-year-old Baden Biddle and his father, Troy Biddle, 52.
Contra Costa Superior Court Judge John W. Kennedy, who presided over Lowe’s murder trial, handed down the April 12 sentence. California prosecutors can pursue murder charges against a drunken driver if the driver was previously convicted of driving under the influence.
The Biddles and Horns were related through marriage – the Biddles were visiting the Horns from Washington state during the long Thanksgiving weekend, prosecutors said. Joseph Horn’s older brother Jared, the car’s driver, survived with minor injuries.
Lowe, of Sacramento, had a lengthy history in Sacramento County of driving under the influence and driving with a suspended license, Sacramento Superior Court records show. Both were true again on Nov, 26, 2017. Lowe was drunk and driving with a suspended license when he slammed his sedan into the Horns’ Nissan Rogue about 8:30 p.m. on eastbound Interstate 80 near San Pablo Dam Road.
Lowe had had five previous DUI convictions. He was driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.24 – three times the legal limit, prosecuting Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts said following the March verdict.
The Horns’ Nissan went over the center median and onto westbound I-80, crashing into a sedan and another sport utility vehicle. That collision injured five more people, including a child, authorities said. Lowe continued driving before finding an off-ramp and attempting to flee. He crashed his sedan into a parked car before his failed escape.