BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A judge has ordered a man to stand trial on charges including second-degree murder for allegedly racing another vehicle that crashed, fatally injuring two occupants.
Nathan Valencia, 31, was ordered to trial on six of seven felony charges after a two-day preliminary hearing that ended Thursday, according to court records. A hit-and-run charge was dismissed.
Valencia is alleged to have driven a gray Infiniti G37 just after midnight on Nov. 19, 2021, that raced a red Honda Civic on Stockdale Highway. The Civic sideswiped another vehicle and crashed into a traffic pole west of Jenkins Road, police said.
The Civic’s driver, Jose Beltran-Lopez, and a passenger, Carmen Vidal, suffered fatal injuries. A second passenger was badly injured.
The passenger estimated the Civic reached speeds of 100 mph, according to testimony.
Valencia’s car was not involved in a collision but it’s alleged he acted “with conscious disregard for human life” by racing the Civic. His attorney, Jared M. Thompson, argued multiple witnesses who told police Valencia was racing admitted initially lying to police and their statements are unreliable.
Valencia is held on $2 million bail. He’s due back in court Dec. 22 when a trial date will be set.