BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — In 2012, Albert Flores Garza was sentenced to 31 years to life in prison for a crash in which he drove drunk and killed two people.
He’ll soon be joined in the prison system by his brother, Steve Flores Garza, convicted Wednesday of an eerily similar crime.
Steve Garza, like his brother, was found guilty of two counts of murder in a DUI-related crash. The 2018 incident for which Steve Garza was convicted happened just a mile away from the location of his brother’s collision on Highway 43, according to prosecutors.
“Each collision was caused by driving under the influence, and each collision resulted in the deaths of two innocent victims,” according to a District Attorney’s office news release.
Steve Garza, 49, faces up to 35 years to life at sentencing. He has five prior DUI convictions.
“When someone who is well aware of the dangers of drunk driving does so anyway and causes death, we will prosecute them for murder,” District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said in the release. “When repeat DUI offenders cause deadly collisions, they prove themselves a public safety risk that cannot be tolerated, and a life sentence is appropriate.”
Witnesses reported Steve Garza had been driving recklessly June 26, 2018, on Highway 43 when his Chevy Trailblazer collided with a Honda Accord, killing occupants Isaiah Jacob Sanchez, 20, and Emilio Junior Mendoza, 23, both of Shafter. A third person in the car, Marcos Ocampo-Carrillo, was badly injured.
According to prosecutors and reports filed by the California Highway Patrol, the Honda had slowed to make a left turn onto Burbank Road when the Trailblazer swerved into the opposite lane to pass traffic — reaching more than 100 mph — and slammed into the car. The impact spun the Honda and threw Mendoza and Sanchez from the vehicle.
Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Steve Garza’s blood-alcohol content was tested at 0.11 percent, but prosecutors said a retrograde analysis found it would have been 0.15 to 0.21 percent at the time of the crash.
On Jan. 17, 2011, Albert Flores Garza ran a stop sign at the intersection of Riverside Street and Highway 43 and crashed into a vehicle, killing Hans Marlette and Manuel Cantu, prosecutors said. Albert Garza, 48, is currently held at Avenal State Prison in Kings County.
Steve Garza is scheduled to be sentenced July 20.