A man accused of speeding, driving drunk and causing a fiery freeway pileup near Miramar that killed two people and injured two others, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges including murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while impaired and hit-and-run.
Jeffrey Brian Levi, 37, who has a previous DUI conviction from 2007, was ordered held on $2 million bail.
He faces 40 years to life in state prison if convicted.
Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright said Levi — driving his 2015 Ford Mustang at speeds in excess of 100 mph — rear-ended a Toyota Corolla, disabling that vehicle in lanes of traffic on northbound Interstate 15 near Miramar Road about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday. Levi’s car crashed off the side of the freeway and he walked away, the prosecutor said.
A gray Ford Explorer driven by an off-duty San Diego police sergeant, meanwhile, struck the Corolla, which burst into flames. The city-owned SUV overturned, coming to rest upside down.
Bystanders were able to rescue a woman inside the Corolla, but the other two occupants — her brother and boyfriend — were trapped and died in the burning wreckage. A GoFundMe page identified the three as David Dominguez, 33, Isaac Felix, 19, and Giovanna Dominguez, 18.
“My brother didn’t deserve this, he was a good individual,” said Felix’s sister, Selena Felix. “He never hurt anybody. He never did drugs, he never did alcohol. He was happy.”
Bright said Giovanna Dominguez suffered broken bones and burns over 75 percent of her body. The off-duty police officer was treated for minor to moderately serious injuries.
Levi was captured 15 minutes after the crash walking toward his home, the prosecutor said.
The defendant’s blood-alcohol content was measured at .16-.17 percent, twice the legal limit for driving, three hours after the collision, Bright told reporters.
At the time of the crash, Felix, his girlfriend and her brother were on their way home to Riverside from Tijuana International Airport, where they had dropped off a family member, according a statement posted on the internet donation page.
A status conference was scheduled for Feb. 1.
—City News Service