DUI Turns into Hit and Run Murder Trial

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By Sofia Leguria

RIVERSIDE, CA –Larry Maurice Thomas was on trial here Wednesday in Riverside County Superior Court Department for murder, driving under the influence/DUI, and a hit and run.

According to police and prosecution reports on June 20, 2019, Thomas borrowed his sister’s black Tahoe to drive to work in the early hours of the morning. Later in the day he was driving that same car drunk on the highway, and crashed into a big rig, killing the other driver.

Prosecutor Melanie Deutsch opened court by arguing, “Driving is a social responsibility, you have a responsibility to the other drivers on the road…There is a trust that one will be sober when operating a motor vehicle, something that the defendant did not do on June 20, 2019”

Thomas, DDA Deutsch explained was swerving around on the road and then merged onto the freeway. He then went into the center median attempting to pass another vehicle, and lost control of his own vehicle and crashed.

This was not Thomas’ first DUI, Deutsch said.

Deutsch stated, “The defendant knows better than to drink and drive while impaired, we know he knows better because on April 2nd, 2016, he was arrested for driving under the influence with other passengers in the vehicles, where he pleaded guilty.”

The first witness that Deutsch called was Thomas’ sister.

She testified that she allowed Thomas to borrow both of her vehicles on multiple occasions, despite the fact that they were not very close.

Thomas did not tell her about his previous DUI but he had always brought the car back without any incident.

There was another witness called by the prosecution that testified about the accident itself. She said she was getting on the freeway right after Thomas. So she had seen him swerving though traffic.

Then Thomas came close to hitting her car before she slowed down to let him have more distance, she added, noting she did not see him hit the big rig, but saw the two cars after the accident and a man fitting Thomas’ description fleeing the scene.

She saw him run across the highway and get into another car that drove off.

She as well as other good Samaritans stayed at the accident to try and help the man in the big rig, who died at the scene.

Deutsch wanted to show how Thomas understood the dangers of drinking and driving.

She said, “When the defendant plead guilty (in 2016) as a part of the plea he initialed he understands that drinking and driving is dangerous to human life and should he choose to do so in the future and someone dies as a result of his driving he may be charged with murder.”

Thomas even went further and completed multiple DUI programs.

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About The Author

Sofia is a third year undergraduate student at University of California, Davis. She is a Managerial Economics major and pursuing a minor in Communications and Professional Writing. She plans on attending law school after graduation in 2023. In her free time she likes to play with her rescue dog named Harvey!

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