UPDATED: Charges Expected Against Man, 38, Suspected in Deadly DUI Crash in Coachella

City News Service Pristine Villarreal

INDIO (CNS) – A 38-year-old man suspected of driving under the influence and causing a traffic collision that left one man dead and another person seriously injured pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges Friday.

In addition to the murder count, Antonio Tellez Leon of Coachella is also charged with one felony count each of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury and having a DUI alcohol percentage of 0.08 or more causing bodily injury, according to court records. He is also facing one misdemeanor count of driving with a suspended license and sentence-enhancing allegations of causing great bodily injury.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied the allegations Friday afternoon at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.

Deputies from the Thermal sheriff’s station responded around 8:15 p.m. Tuesday to the intersection of Avenue 51 and Chiapas Street to a report of a major injury traffic collision, according to Sgt. Tom Anderson of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

The collision was between a gray BMW, allegedly occupied by Tellez, and a Blue Toyota Camry occupied by two unidentified people, Sgt. Wendy Brito- Gonzalez of the sheriff’s department told City News Service.

“Upon their arrival, deputies found two occupants of one vehicle with major injures and began life saving measures; the driver of the second vehicle was uninjured,” Anderson wrote in a statement. “One of the injured parties succumbed to his injuries at the scene and the other was transported to a local hospital for additional medical treatment.”

The decedent was identified by the Riverside County coroner’s office as 21-year-old Jacob Snellings of Coachella.

Tellez allegedly showed signs of impairment and was subsequently arrested, according to Anderson. He was booked into the John J. Benoit Detention Center in Indio, where he remains held on $1 million bail, according to inmate records.

Anyone with additional information on the fatal collision was asked to call Deputy Esteban Molina of the Thermal sheriff’s station at 760-863-8990 or Valley Crime Stoppers anonymously at 800-782-7463.

Copyright 2023, City News Service, Inc.

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