VISTA (CNS) - A preliminary hearing is scheduled at the Vista Courthouse Tuesday for a man charged with murder for allegedly driving drunk and leading officers on a North County road chase that ended with the death of his passenger.
Jorge Luis Lopez, 22, was speeding in a 1991 Honda Civic on state Route 78 in Oceanside alongside a westbound sedan -- apparently racing the other motorist -- when California Highway Patrol personnel spotted him near College Boulevard shortly before 1 a.m. last Nov. 16, according to CHP public-affairs Officer Jim Bettencourt.
The other driver slowed down, but Lopez refused to yield and fled at speeds reaching 100 mph, soon merging onto northbound Interstate 5, Bettencourt said.
Lopez exited onto Mission Avenue and headed east before turning south on Mesa Drive, allegedly continuing on at about 80 mph before hitting a dip in the road, veering out of control and crashing into a parked pickup truck near Mesa and Pajama drives.
The defendant suffered moderately serious injuries and was airlifted to Scripps La Jolla Hospital. His passenger died at the scene of the wreck.
At the end of the preliminary hearing, a judge will decide if enough evidence was presented for Lopez to stand trial on charges of murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and evading police. The defendant faces 22 years to life in prison if convicted.