Richard Farias, of Madera, was sentenced Wednesday for up to life in prison for his conviction of two felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and a separate felony count of driving under the influence and injuring another, according to Madera County District Attorney Michael R. Keitz.
During a 10-day trial in November 2012, Deputy DA Matthew Pfeffer presented a number of witnesses who testified that on Nov. 13, 2010, 57-year-old Farias drove at excessive speeds on Avenue 14 near Madera while under the influence and with three passengers. Deborah Lyon and Marcel Rodriguez, both of Madera, were killed when the vehicle swerved off the road and rolled over numerous times before landing in a field. A third passenger, Valentino Valdez, was seriously injured but survived the crash.
The court sentenced Farias to 5 years in prison for driving while intoxicated and causing great bodily injury to Valentino Valdez; an additional 15 years to life for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated for the death of Deborah Lyon; and, a further 15 years to life for the death of Marcel Rodriguez. Farias’ combined sentence is 35 years to life in state prison.
“This is a very tragic case where two families were devastated when their loved ones were killed, and a third person was seriously injured because of Mr. Farias’ reckless action and disregard for the law. These sentences carry an important message: don’t ever drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Far too many lives have been tragically taken and families disrupted through this deadly combination,” said Keitz...