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Man charged with vehicular manslaughter in car collision case

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Mourners lay flowers at the tree that the car allegedly driven by Jose Lumbreras collided with, the impact of which left 2012 UC Berkeley graduate Milanca Lopez dead and her son seriously injured.


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MAY 22, 2012

The driver who was involved in a vehicle collision with a tree last week that left one woman dead and a child in the hospital with serious injuries has been charged with vehicular manslaughter while driving drunk.

Jose Lumbreras, 24, was driving a Cadillac in which Milanca Lopez, 22, and her six-year-old son, Xavier, were passengers when he struck a roundabout and then collided with a tree early Friday morning on California Street just north of Allston Way.  Lopez, a 2012 UC Berkeley graduate, was pronounced dead at the scene while both Lumbreras and Xavier were taken to local hospital trauma units, according to a press release from Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.

Lumbreras, a resident of Berkeley and a UC Berkeley graduate student in ethnic studies, was arrested Tuesday at Highland Hospital in Oakland. The Alameda County District Attorney charged Lumbreras with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, drunken driving causing injury and enhancements for allegedly causing Xavier “to become comatose due to brain injury and to suffer paralysis,” according to court documents obtained from Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick.

The documents state that Lumbreras’ preliminary blood alcohol content was .219 percent — the legal state limit is 0.08 percent — and police estimate his speed was at least 64 mph when he collided with the tree.

Xavier, who was riding in the back of the car, remains in critical condition at Children’s Hospital Oakland and is currently on life support with minor brain function present, according to the documents.

A vigil was held for Lopez, who lived in University Village in Albany with her son, at Presentation Park on Saturday, where friends and family gathered in front of the tree the car collided with.


Anjuli Sastry is an assistant news editor.

MAY 23, 2012

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