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Driver found guilty of second-degree murder in DUI crash


Ventura County District Attorney said after a two-week trial Jose Luis Rodriguez was found guilty of second-degree murder, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, and driving with a revoked or suspended license.

The jury also found that Rodriguez was driving with a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher when the accident occurred.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 18 and he faces a maximum of eighteen years to life in state prison.


California Highway Patrol officers arrested Jose Rodriguez, 25, of Oxnard on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol following a fatal crash.

The Ventura County Medical Examiner said Esmeralda Bello, age 21, of Oxnard, died in the wreckage of a 2008 Infinity G37.

Bello was wearing a seat belt in the back seat when the car traveling southbound on Victoria Avenue south of Olivas Park Drive rolled down an embankment into a farm field. The car landed on its roof.

Sergio Lemus-Martinez, 26, of Oxnard, survived in the right passenger seat.

Investigators believe Rodriguez was speeding and failed to negotiate a curve.

Rodriguez and Lemus-Martínez were treated for minor injuries.

Rodriguez was booked into the Ventura County Jail.

Anyone with any information regarding this traffic collision is asked to call the California Highway Patrol at (805) 477-4174.

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