(Woodland, CA) – May 8, 2015 - District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that on May 8, 2015, the Honorable Paul K. Richardson sentenced 41-year-old Armando Gonzalez of Woodland, to a term of 18 years and 8 months to life in state prison. A jury found Gonzalez guilty on April 10, 2015 of 2nd Degree Murder and Gross Vehicular Manslaughter for killing Darlene Ruth Morales. 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 concurred with the recommendations of the Yolo County Probation Department and the sentence ultimately handed down by the Honorable Paul K. Richardson.