Friday, April 13, 2007

Soldier Involved in Deadly Crash Arrested (SB Sun)

Soldier involved in deadly crash arrested
Melissa Pinion-Whitt, Staff writer
San Bernardino County Sun
Article Launched:03/30/2007 12:00:00 AM PDT

A man who triggered a January car crash in Rialto that claimed the lives of two teen girls was captured in Kentucky and is expected to be returned to California today, officials said.
David Ponce Ledezma, 21, of Colton, who is in the U.S. Army and was scheduled to return to Iraq several days after the crash, has been charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office issued a warrant for his arrest March 21, according to court records.

While officers said a strong odor of alcohol came from people inside the car Ledezma was driving, investigators would not reveal whether blood tests showed Ledezma was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

Had he shown obvious signs of inebriation at the scene, he would have been immediately arrested, said Rialto police Cpl. Chris Hice.

"During the preliminary investigation, he was not taken into custody," Hice said. "We ran the course of the investigation, put together the complete investigation package, submitted it to the (District Attorney's Office) and a warrant was issued."

Officers wanted to rule out other potential causes of the crash first, such as mechanical problems with Ledezma's vehicle.

Ledezma was driving on a downhill slope on Sycamore Avenue near Wilson Street at 4:10 a.m. Jan. 4 when he struck an upturn in the road and his 2002 GMC Yukon became airborne, officials said. The vehicle flipped, throwing Rachel Lujan of Bloomington and Adriadne Benavides of Rialto, both 17, out of the vehicle.

The girls were not wearing seat belts. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

Three other people were injured in the crash.

Police said the group had been drinking in Lytle Creek with other friends before returning to Rialto.

Ledezma had been hospitalized with injuries he received in the crash. But after receiving treatment at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, he was released and returned to military service.

In the past few days, Kentucky police pulled over Ledezma for a traffic infraction, said Rialto police Detective Gary Cunningham.

"He got some type of traffic ticket and the warrant popped up," Cunningham said.

Two Rialto officers were scheduled to fly to Louisville, Ky., Thursday to pick up Ledezma. He could be arraigned on the charges as early as Monday, Cunningham said.

Contact writer Melissa

Pinion-Whitt at (909) 386-3878 or via e-mail at

BS Ranch Perspective:

I am happy that Rialto Police has got their man when it came to the Killing of the two girls pertaining to this accident, however it is just a shame that it was a Solder. It also is worse that he used the uniform of the United States Government to hide behind to attempt to get away with the untimely Death of two people. It isn't Bad enough that we have so much Killing going on over in Iraq, that it was brought over here and this Solder felt so clouded that he could not bring it to tell the difference between the two places to walk into turning himself in from the injustice that he caused to the family of the woman of the lives that he cut so short. Instead he found the time to hide aboard a bus and run to Kentucky and simply figured the further away from Rialto that he got at the help of the US Government the Better for him. However Thanks to God, and all his Glory that was not the case and he will answer for the crime, and the Death that he caused!

BS Ranch

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