Gwinnett woman and unborn child killed in car accident

Posted by Richard Lawson | Dec 26, 2013 | 0 Comments

A pregnant woman lost her life and that of her unborn child Saturday when the driver of the car in which she was a passenger turned in front of a large conversion van carrying five passengers.

30-year-old Erasmo Santos-Ordonez of Norcross did not have the right-of-way when he turned left and ran into the van.  Emergency crews had to extricate his eight-months-pregnant wife, identified as 19-year-old Katerin Matina from the passenger seat.  Both she and the unborn baby later died.  Another passenger of the car and one passenger in the van were transported to the hospital.  Their injuries were considered to be non-life-threatening.

Police have charged Santos-Ordonez with failure to yield, second-degree vehicular homicide, and feticide by vehicle and driving without a license.  All are misdemeanors. He is being held without bond at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond.  He is also currently under an immigration hold and his first court appearance was Monday afternoon.

Let's discuss two of his charges: Second-degree vehicular homicide and feticide by vehicle. In Georgia, vehicular homicide is the unlawful killing of an individual using a motor vehicle.  Misdemeanor vehicular homicide is when a person causes the death of another person as a result of not obeying traffic laws; as in the news story above.  Mr. Santos-Ordonez has been charged with misdemeanor vehicular homicide in the second degree and can be sentenced to a maximum of twelve months in jail if found guilty.

For him to be found guilty of misdemeanor vehicular homicide, the judge or jury have to conclude that the Mr. Santos-Ordonez violated a traffic law other than the felony vehicular homicide predicate offenses.  They must find that his unlawful acts were the “proximate cause of death” of his wife and unborn child.  Second-degree vehicular homicide is often upgraded to first-degree vehicular homicide once the State completes toxicology testing.  In the event that Mr. Santos-Ordonez was found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs he would be re-arrested and charged accordingly with the upgraded charge of first-degree vehicular homicide and first-degree feticide by vehicle.

“Feticide by vehicle” is when a person causes the death of an unborn child.  The punishment for felony feticide by vehicle is the same as felony vehicular homicide.  The punishment for misdemeanor feticide by vehicle is the same as misdemeanor vehicular homicide.

If you have been arrested for any traffic-related offense in Gwinnett County, contact Gwinnett County DUI Lawyer Richard Lawson.  We are here to answer your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and holidays too.  Your best defense begins here.

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Richard Lawson

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