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Coalinga Man Gets 15 Years to Life for Killing Vallejo Woman in DUI Crash
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By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 1 year ago on
January 21, 2023

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A drunk Coalinga man who killed a woman in a high-speed car crash on Highway 198 and then asked bystanders to light his cigarette was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison on Friday.

Daniel Melgarejo’s state prison sentence follows his conviction for murder, driving under the influence causing injury, and hit and run from a collision causing death, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

According to court records, Melgarejo, 31, was driving his 2004 Acura at 115 mph when he rear-ended Rochelle and Olander Weston’s 2012 Toyota Camry on the afternoon of July 31, 2020.

The collision ejected the Westons from their vehicle. Rochelle, 60, died while Olander, 66, survived serious injuries.

The Vallejo couple was on vacation heading for a resort when the fatal collision occurred. While Good Samaritans rendered emergency aid to the Westons, Melgarejo approached with a cigarette in his mouth and asked them for a light. Then he fled the scene.

Blood-Alcohol Count Three Times Legal Limit

Prosecutors said that investigators later found Melgarejo passed out in the foyer of a relative’s apartment. Tests revealed he had a blood alcohol count of .24% — three
times the legal limit.

Melgarejo also has a 2018 DUI conviction in Monterey. He was told at that time if he were to drive under the influence and kill someone else, he could be prosecuted for murder.

 

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Bill McEwen,
News Director
Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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