Driver Who Caused Death While Having A Seizure Convicted of Murder

Press Release

(Woodland, CA) – April 10, 2015 - District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on April 10, 2015, a Yolo County jury found 41-year-old Armando Gonzalez of Woodland, guilty of 2nd Degree Murder and Gross Vehicular Manslaughter for killing Darlene Ruth Morales on February 4, 2014. The jury also convicted Gonzalez of two counts of perjury for lying to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

On February 4, 2014, Gonzalez left work after having two seizures earlier that morning. Just after 2:00 p.m., Gonzalez, while having a seizure and speeding 80 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone, drove directly into the vehicle of Darlene Ruth Morales. Ms. Morales was forced off of the road, hit a light pole, and then wrapped her car around a tree. Ms. Morales was trapped in the car for nearly 20 minutes before fire and emergency crews were finally able to extricate her from the car. Ms. Morales lost consciousness shortly after being extricated and was transported by ambulance to UC Davis Hospital in Sacramento where she died from internal bleeding and blunt force trauma. The incident occurred the day after Ms. Morales’s 85th birthday as she was on her way home from visiting her ailing husband at a rest home.

Gonzalez had caused four prior collisions due to his epilepsy. The first collision occurred in 2002. In that case, Mr. Gonzalez ran a stop sign while traveling at a high rate of speed hitting a fence and four parked cars. The second collision occurred in 2004 when he ran a stop sign at a high rate of speed and drove into a cement wall. The third collision occurred in 2010. In that collision, Gonzalez felt a seizure coming and attempted to pull over only to hit a parked car on the side of the road. The fourth collision occurred in 2011. Again, Gonzalez ran a stop sign at a high rate of speed, hitting another car traveling through the intersection.

Deputy District Attorneys Amanda Zambor and Kyle Hasapes prosecuted the case. Ms. Zambor praised the dedicated efforts of the Davis Police Department, CHP MAIT Division, and DA Investigator Dave Marshall for the extensive investigation that was done in this case. “Justice was served because of the countless hours involved by law enforcement investigating this case and finding witnesses dating back to 2002.” Ms. Zambor also praised the commitment and courage of the victim’s family. “The victim’s family was committed to seeking justice for the senseless killing of their loved one. They bravely trusted that the system would hold the defendant entirely accountable for his crimes. The jury delivered that justice to them today.”

Gonzalez will be sentenced on May 8, 2015 by the Honorable Paul Richardson who presided over the trial. Gonzalez faces 19 years to life in state prison.