On Friday morning November 14, a deadly accident on US 84/285 in Santa Fe took the life of 40-year-old Celeste Maestas. Investigators weren’t certain at first who caused the crash, however they suspected 59-year-old Jimmy Griego, whose vehicle was found pulled off on exit 177. Griego allegedly left his SUV and walked to a nearby casino, according to eyewitnesses. Griego has pleaded guilty to DWI on four occasions since 1985, according to news reports at KRQE News 13.
The crash occurred around 10:30 a.m., when police received reports of a Ford Explorer driving in a reckless manner and almost hitting other motorists. It was just minutes later when a crash involving two vehicles happened near the Buffalo Thunder Casino. Celeste Maestas lost control of her Chevy Impala and collided with another vehicle after she crossed into the southbound lane. She died at the scene.
At the time, police were uncertain of whether Griego was involved, however he was arrested and charged with felony DWI. His license had also been revoked. Days later, deputies learned that Maestas swerved to avoid hitting Griego on Friday, as he was driving recklessly. Her attempt to avoid Griego’s vehicle resulted in her crashing into another car before her own vehicle slammed into a concrete barrier. Griego now faces charges of vehicular homicide in addition to DWI.
In the state of Michigan, vehicular manslaughter is not a charge all motorists face when a fatal accident occurs due to poor judgment, however it is a common charge when a victim dies in an accident because another motorist was drunk or otherwise impaired, or driving in a reckless manner. The criminal penalties for those convicted of vehicular manslaughter vary depending on the offender’s criminal history and other factors. Regardless, the punishment is severe and may include fines of up to $20,000 and/or a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Every DUI arrest is serious, even when it is a first offense. In cases where a defendant is simply arrested for driving under the influence, a conviction will result in possible jail time, steep fines, driver’s license suspension, a criminal record, community service, and more. No matter how minor the situation may seem, DUI is a serious matter that can affect your freedom, career, and future. Fight charges of driving under the influence by hiring an aggressive Michigan DUI defense lawyer.