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Driver in fatal Santa Barbara crash now charged with murder

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A Santa Barbara man who police believe was under the influence of alcohol when he crashed into an oncoming car, killing the driver has been charged with murder.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday that 24-year-old Jose Fermin Lopez Jr. of Santa Barbara, has been charged with murder in addition to vehicular manslaughter and DUI for the crash.

Earlier Wednesday morning, the Santa Barbara Police Department identified the man killed as 71-year-old Steven Doyle Carlson.

The crash happened Sunday night on West Carrillo Street. According to police, a Nissan sedan driven by Lopez crashed into Carlson's Mercedes sedan. Investigators believe Lopez was driving under the influence of alcohol at a high rate of speed without headlights on when he collided with Carlson's vehicle.

Both men were transported to the hospital with serious injuries. On Monday, police announced that Carlson had died from his injuries.

Lopez, who was still hospitalized as of Wednesday, was arraigned from his hospital bed for Calrson's death. Police say he will be booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail once he is discharged from the hospital.

He is due in court on Monday, Nov. 22

The crash remains under investigation.

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Travis Schlepp

Travis Schlepp is the Digital Content Director for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Travis, click here.

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