Crime - Sacto 911

Court hearing for Caudillo in wrong-way deaths of three

In January, Aaron Jordon Caudillo is arraigned for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for driving the wrong way down I-80 and killing three young adults from Placer County.
In January, Aaron Jordon Caudillo is arraigned for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for driving the wrong way down I-80 and killing three young adults from Placer County. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Aaron Jordon Caudillo will face an Oct. 2 preliminary hearing in a wrong-way collision that killed three young people on Interstate 80 in January.

Caudillo, 25, of Roseville, who appeared Thursday in Sacramento Superior Court, is accused of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the deaths of Matthew Azar, 20, Mathew Beardwitt, 18, and Kendra Langham, 18, all of Granite Bay, early Jan. 10 on I-80 near the Madison Avenue exit.

Caudillo remains held at the county’s Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center in Elk Grove in lieu of $1 million bail.

Caudillo’s car sped west on eastbound I-80 from the Antelope Road exit just after 2 a.m. Jan. 10 before slamming into and instantly killing the three young people driving home from a rave in Galt in south Sacramento County. Investigators say Caudillo failed to turn on the headlights of his black Chrysler 300 sedan and had a large bottle of rum at his side when his car plowed into Azar’s Buick Regal.

Caudillo’s blood alcohol level was measured at 0.14, nearly twice the legal limit. He was hospitalized for weeks after the wreck and made early court appearances handcuffed to a wheelchair.

On Thursday, Caudillo returned to the downtown jailhouse courtroom without the wheelchair before visiting Judge Gregory Haas. In late June, there was talk of possible resolution in the case. Caudillo had no criminal record before January’s collision and attorney John Holbus said a deal could be possible by Thursday’s hearing. No deal came out of the morning hearing, and afterward, Holbus said there remained “one legal issue that has to be worked out. We’re hoping to resolve this.”

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office has not extended an offer to Caudillo and the court has not yet indicated a sentence. Haas also set a Sept. 3 date to hear motions in the case.

“We’re preparing for prelim,” prosecuting Deputy District Attorney Brian Morgan said outside the courtroom.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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