Serial drunk driver found guilty on 4 counts of second-degree murder

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Rien Ban is charged with four counts of second degree murder. He was driving a Mercedes SUV when investigators said an unsafe passing move caused a head on crash. Two adults and two children were killed in the crash two years ago near Mendota.

Ban spent the day fishing with friends and family two years ago, when prosecutors said the defendant, who clearly had a drinking problem, started popping open cans of Budweiser.

"You heard that he drank beer at each location and you heard that he drank Hennessey brandy. Shots of it at each location," said William Terrence, Deputy District Attorney.

But then the one in charge of transportation got behind the wheel and headed back toward Fresno.

Defense attorney Marina Pincus pointed out all the varying opinions from expert witnesses before steering jurors back to her client and his mindset.

"There is no way that he chose for that to happen. It was described as a collision and it was. But it was also an accident."

But the Deputy District Attorney said the fact is he killed four people, including a passenger in his own SUV.

"The defendant's vehicle came in at 4,947 pounds, moving at 71 miles per hour. He never even braked," said Terrence.

A 911 tape was also played as a reminder to jurors about the frantic call from a witness who without even being asked, described the defendant's driving before the deadly crash.

"There's a Mercedes, he was driving unsafe. Hit the car head on. OK. We need ambulances now," said the witness.

Ban's attorney said the driver of the other car's abrupt movements may have also played a part in the crash. But prosecutors said that driver slammed on the brakes after seeing the danger, and never left her lane.

Ban could spend the rest of his life in prison now that he is convicted. He will be sentenced in January.
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