John Velazquez, who killed pedestrian Patrick Mendez in a drunk driving crash last May, was sentenced in a Bakersfield court today. Velazquez struck a deal with prosecutors to serve 10 years in Lerdo Jail for DUI and Gross Vehicular Manslaughter in exchange for dropping charges against him for injuring another man that night.

The night of the crash Velazquez was going 80 mph under the influence of alcohol when he struck and killed Mendez on Edison Highway near the Bena Landfill. Mendez was thrown onto the windshield of a Honda Accord, and Velazquez crashed into two more cars on the side of the road, injuring another man.

Velazquez apologized in court to the Mendez family, saying he was thinking about his recently deceased mother on the night he decided to get behind the wheel.

Mendez’s mother Jackie told the court she doesn’t think 10 years is justice, “but that is how the law is.”

10 years in jail is the maximum amount a person can serve in the state of California if convicted of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter.

Kelli Forsch