Man accused of deadly crash while trying to get away from Fresno Police pleads not guilty to murder

Jessica Harrington Image
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Man accused of deadly crash while trying to get away from Fresno Police pleads not guilty to murder
The Fresno man accused of speeding away from police and killing another driver will face a judge Tuesday morning.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The man accused of killing an innocent driver while trying to get away from Fresno Police last week was arraigned on murder and DUI charges Tuesday.

"At this point, he's remanded to the custody of the sheriff and we will have the arraignment at 1:30 at the hospital," said Fresno County Superior Court Judge James A. Kelley Tuesday morning.

In a rare move, Judge Kelley scheduled a hospital bedside arraignment for 40-year-old Andrew Calderon.

He's accused of taking off from Fresno police last week during a traffic stop, while under the influence of alcohol and methamphetamine.

In his rush to get away, investigators say he crashed into 29-year-old Victor Cardenas at Shields and Fresno Street, killing him.

Calderon has been in the hospital since, so the prosecutor, a public defender, and judge all went to his bedside Tuesday afternoon.

Calderon pleaded not guilty to murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while D-U-I, evading arrest causing death and D-U-I causing great bodily injury.

"He's looking at for sure at least 35 years to life in this particular case," said legal anaylyst Tony Capozzi said.

Capozzi says Calderon's criminal history will play a major role.

Calderon has three previous DUI convictions from 2001, 2010 and 2013, when he was likely given a Watson Advisement.

"A judge, when you're convicted of drunk driving, tells you at the time you're convicted and sentenced that if you're convicted of drunk driving again and you injure someone or cause death to someone, you may be prosecuted for murder," Capozzi said.

Calderon was also on parole at the time of the crash from a 2017 domestic violence conviction.

So, if convicted on the new charges, his sentence can be doubled because of the prior strike.

Calderon is being held on $1.4 million bail.

He's expected to be back in court next month.

The video above is from an earlier story and will be updated.

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