Double deadly DUI suspect committed another crime just before, prosecutors say

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Prosecutors say the man accused of driving drunk and killing a young father and son had committed another crime just prior to the deadly crash.

Jose Castillo and his 7-year-old son Jose, Jr., died in Saturday's crash, and four family members suffered injuries.

Jovan Cortez got hurt too, but police say he was responsible for the crash and another injury before it.

The 22-year-old defendant rolled into court in a wheelchair to face six felony charges.

"(He will) enter pleas of not guilty, denials to all allegations and enhancements therein," said public defender Ryan Yoo, who was assigned to handle the case Wednesday.

Most of the felonies stem from his crash into the Castillo family at Marks and North.

CHP officers say Cortez ran the stop sign and hit them, killing Jose and Jose, Jr., seriously injuring three more family members and slightly injuring another.

Cortez and his 11-month-old daughter suffered injuries too and his truck caught fire.

Investigators say the baby girl probably would've died except that Fresno County sheriff's deputies came in a hurry and pulled her out.

RELATED: Family remembers father and 7-year-old boy killed in Fresno Co. crash by DUI driver

But prosecutors say Cortez tried to get away with it.

"He was, I suppose, attempting to evade law enforcement attempts to collect a breath sample when they were trying to use a breathalyzer device," said prosecutor Steven Ueltzen. "He also was less than forthcoming and honest with the police officers regarding his conduct in the driving. In fact, I think that's an understatement. He lied about how the crash occurred."

Cortez asked the judge to release him on "OR" - in other words, without paying any bail.

But that would be dangerous for the community, according to prosecutor Steven Ueltzen, because of his alleged drunk driving and allegations of violence just before he started driving.

"The people would point out that prior to his decision to drive under the influence, he was involved in a domestic disturbance where he both grabbed his fiancée with enough force to cause bruising to the back of her arm and also smashed through the front windshield of her vehicle during the argument," Ueltzen said.

Cortez has no criminal history, but the judge deemed him too risky to release without bail.

"The request for OR is denied," said Judge Denise Whitehead.

The judge set bail at just under $650,000 and Cortez is due back in court next week.
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