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Petaluma man sentenced to 24 years in prison for fatal DUI crash

A Petaluma man was sentenced to nearly 24 years in state prison Thursday for causing a June 2018 DUI crash that killed one woman and seriously injured a man.

Francisco Gonzalez-Mejia, 22, pleaded no contest in the case, which included charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and fleeing the scene of an accident resulting in death and serious bodily injury, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office said.

He had a blood alcohol content 2 1/2 times the legal limit at the time of the crash, prosecutors said.

The collision happened as Gonzalez-Mejia was speeding north on Highway 101 near the Airport Boulevard exit. He slammed into the rear of a Toyota Corolla, causing it to veer off the road and crash head-on into a tree, prosecutors said.

A passenger in the Toyota, Lourdes Oscanoa-Marcelo, 47, Rohnert Park, was killed. The driver of the Toyota, Elvis Barzola-Veliz, 48, of Rohnert Park, was badly injured.

Gonzalez-Mejia fled on foot but was found walking on the shoulder of Fulton Road.

“This was a tragic and completely avoidable death caused by the defendant who chose to drive with a blood alcohol concentration 2 1/2 times the legal limit. Those who choose to become impaired and drive in our community put everyone on the road at risk. These offenders will be aggressively prosecuted,” District Attorney Jill Ravitch said in a statement.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @nashellytweets.

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