Plea deal accepted in deadly DUI chase

An alleged drunken driver who faced up to 18 years in prison in connection with a police chase that ended in a fatal crash will spend four years behind bars.

Marco Espinosa, 28, a Redwood City gardener, pleaded no contest to one count of vehicular manslaughter Tuesday and was sentenced to four years in prison. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped charges of hit-and-run causing injury, DUI causing injury, fleeing from police and a five-year enhancement of leaving the scene of an accident.

Authorities say that on March 16, 2007, an intoxicated Espinosa led sheriff’s deputies on a chase from Redwood City to Atherton after they tried to pull him over for weaving on Middlefield Road.

“At one point, he went around a SamTrans bus and into oncoming traffic. The deputy broke off the chase because it was dangerous, but Espinosa didn’t know that. He kept on speeding and when he hit a [bump] in the road, he rammed into a couple of trees at high speeds,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Deputies came upon the accident at the corner of Middlefield Road and Heritage Court in Atherton, where they witnessed Espinosa running away, Wagstaffe said.

One of Espinosa’s back-seat passengers, 18-year-old Eduardo Reyes, of Redwood City, died after his head became wedged between the front seat and the roof of the crushed car, Wagstaffe said. Eder Reyes, the victim’s 19-year-old cousin, was injured but has since recovered, according to prosecutors. A third cousin, 21-year-old Cesar Reyes, was uninjured.

“It’s tragic that somebody loses their life and somebody else gets injured because you’re worried you’re going to get arrested for drunk driving,” Wagstaffe said.

On Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Chris Feasel said Espinosa has never expressed remorse for the accident. Nevertheless, Feasel said he is satisfied with the sentence.

“I respect the judge’s sentencing decision,” he said, adding that Espinosa will also be ordered to pay a still-undetermined amount of restitution to Reyes’ family.

tbarak@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Deputy public defender Chris Garcia outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
As pandemic wanes, SF public defender hopes clients will get ‘their day in court’

Like other attorneys in San Francisco, Deputy Public Defender Chris Garcia has… Continue reading

Hyphen hosts a group show at Space Gallery in San Francisco in 2010. (Photo courtesy of Albert Law/Pork Belly Studio)
What’s in a name? Asian American magazine fights to keep its identity

An investor-backed media group laid claim to the moniker of SF’s long-running Hyphen magazine, sparking a conversation about writing over community history

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Fight over ‘poverty tows’ heats up

‘What can we do to ensure the vehicle stays in the hands of the owner?’

Crab fisherman Skip Ward of Marysville casts his crab net out off a pier near Fort Point. (Craig Lee/Special to The	Examiner)
San Francisco came back to life, and we captured it all

Last spring, in the early days of the pandemic, the bestselling authors… Continue reading

Revelers at Madrone Art Bar in the early hours of June 15, 2021 (Courtesy Power Quevedo).
No social distancing at Motown-themed dance party

‘I don’t care how anyone feels, I just want to dance!’

Most Read