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Fatal hit-and-run driver with prior DUIs faces murder charge

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A Newark man with two prior drunk driving convictions was charged with murder Tuesday for a hit-and-run collision in Fremont on Sunday night that killed a 70-year-old woman.

Juan Antonio Martinez, 47, was scheduled to be arraigned in Alameda County Superior Court in Fremont on Tuesday afternoon in connection with the collision on Central Avenue just east of Blacow Road at about 6:15 p.m. Sunday that claimed the life of Erlinda Domingo of Newark. Fremont police Officer Jacob Shannon wrote in a probable cause statement that Martinez was driving a Honda Odyssey van that collided with a Honda Civic in which Domingo was a passenger.

Martinez was traveling east on Central Avenue and the Honda Civic was traveling west but for some reason Martinez crossed over the central median, which is about 16 feet wide, and entered the westbound lanes and collided head-on with the Civic, Shannon wrote.

Domingo was unconscious and displayed labored breathing when paramedics responded to the scene and eventually succumbed to her injuries at the scene, according to Shannon.

The driver of the Honda Civic suffered minor injuries to his chest, legs and forehead and is still hospitalized, Shannon wrote. Martinez fled the scene on foot but officers found him in a nearby neighborhood a short time later and arrested him, according to police. Officers observed objective signs of intoxication on Martinez, including an odor of an alcoholic beverage so they performed tests on him, Shannon wrote.

Shannon recommended that Martinez be charged with murder because he has two prior drunk driving convictions and it is standard for a person with such a record to be warned that if they continue to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and someone is killed as a result of that driving, they could be charged with murder.

Shannon also wrote that Martinez’s identification indicates that he’s from El Salvador and there’s no record that he’s ever possessed a valid California driver’s license.

In addition to murder, Martinez is charged with two counts of drunk driving causing injury with prior convictions, one count of leaving the scene of an accident and a misdemeanor count of driving while his license was suspended because of an alcohol-related conviction.

Martinez was sentenced to 20 days in jail and placed on three years’ probation for a drunk driving conviction for an incident in Hayward on July 25, 2015, and sentenced to 10 days in jail and placed on five years’ probation for an incident in Newark on Oct. 15, 2016, Shannon wrote. Martinez was scheduled to be arraigned at the Fremont Hall of Justice Tuesday afternoon.

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