Juan Muniz III was an active-duty Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton. Photo courtesy Kingsville Memorial

A man who was driving drunk when he struck and killed a 22-year-old active-duty Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton pleaded guilty Monday to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

William Edward Vaden, 33, is slated to be sentenced next month to 15 years to life in state prison for the death of Juan Muniz III, who was struck while crossing an Oceanside roadway during the early morning hours of Jan. 26, 2020.

The victim was hit at around 1:10 a.m. while crossing Coast Highway near Sportfisher Drive, according to police and prosecutors. Paramedics responded to the scene and took Muniz to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later, the Medical Examiner’s Office reported.

Vaden, who remained at the scene, was initially arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was charged about six months later with murder, which prosecutors filed due to a 2010 San Diego County DUI conviction.

At Vaden’s arraignment, Deputy District Attorney David Uyar said the defendant had a blood-alcohol content of .22%, nearly three times the legal limit. The prosecutor said Vaden had finished work and stopped by several Oceanside-area bars prior to the fatal collision.

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