Fresno double fatal DUI crash suspect faces judge

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Hector Castillo Pichardo, 23, pled not guilty in court Wednesday morning. He's accused of causing the accident that killed two people in Northeast Fresno on Saturday night. (KFSN)

Hector Castillo Pichardo, 23, pled not guilty in court Wednesday morning. He's accused of causing the accident that killed two people in Northeast Fresno on Saturday night.

One of the victims of that crash was taken to Community Regional Medical Center and is still in critical condition. We've also learned that another victim -- a passenger in the suspect's truck was also taken to CRMC. Police say the accused driver has a history of driving without a license. But that's the least of the charges he's now facing.

Hector Castillo Pichardo used a translator to communicate with his attorney as he faced a judge for the first time. His attorney tells us he speaks no English and that this will be a very complicated and time consuming case.

Defense attorney Scott Baly said, "I can see this is first time in a felony court room and he is expressing some remorse about what happened last weekend."

While it might be his first time in an actual court room, police say it's not the first time he's been in trouble. They say he's got a history of driving without a license and had been cited before. The other surviving passenger in his truck told officers that he, Pichardo and Oscar Felix Vega were drinking at an apartment complex and then decided to go to Table Mountain Casino. But their trip was cut short when Pichardo reached Friant and Copper River drive. Officers say that's where Pichardo ran a red light, hitting an SUV. The driver, Molly Griffin, did not survive. Her best friend is still fighting for her life. A passenger in Pichardo's truck, Oscar Felix also did not survive. Prosecutors are now working to put their case against Pichardo together.

Prosecutor Trevor Oppliger said, "We are continuing with our investigation and have made efforts between ourselves and victims services to contact the victim's family and we will continue with those efforts until the next court date."

In the meantime, all of the involved families are grieving. Molly Griffin, a surgical nurse at Madera Community Hospital, is being remembered on social media as an incredible, fun loving and accomplished young woman who had a bright future ahead of her. The passenger in the truck that hit her, a hardworking family man who leaves behind a wife and three children.

Friends and family members are encouraging people to remember Molly Griffin by donating to a Fresno State Nursing Scholarship in her name.

The suspect will be back in court in March.



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