BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — After leaving work in Lost Hills, Vincent Moroyoqui downed four beers and took a few swigs of whiskey then drove along Taft Highway at speeds reaching 99 mph.
His pickup collided head-on with a car carrying Raeleen Sorensen, 50, and Raegan Sorensen, 20. The impact crushed the front of the car, killing the Taft women.
An appellate court has reviewed Moroyoqui’s case and ruled he will continue serving 30 years to life following his 2019 convictions on two counts of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Moroyoqui had three prior DUI convictions before the fatal crash.
The justices, in an opinion filed Thursday, said the trial judge did not abuse his discretion by allowing Moroyoqui’s past speeding tickets into evidence.
“We see no indication the speeding tickets rendered the trial fundamentally unfair,” says the ruling by a three-justice panel of the 5th District Court of Appeal. “By the time they were introduced, the jury had already heard testimony concerning defendant’s dangerous driving on the day of the accident, his apparent intoxication at the scene, his high blood-alcohol content, and his grossly excessive speed immediately preceding the accident.
“The speeding tickets were comparatively innocuous evidence.”
At trial, Moroyoqui, 38, admitted to speeding before the crash. He denied, however, that he was drunk at the time. He testified he had a bottle of whiskey in his truck and began guzzling alcohol after the crash out of despair over the deaths of the two women.
Moroyoqui was convicted of DUI in 2002, 2008 and 2009. For the last two convictions, he signed a Watson advisal acknowledging he’d been told if he drove while impaired and someone died as a result he could be charged with murder.
Moroyoqui’s blood was drawn at Kern Medical after the crash. It registered a blood-alcohol content of 0.26 percent, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent, reports say.
An officer who spoke with Moroyoqui at the scene noted he struggled to maintain his balance and had alcohol on his breath, according to reports. Asked if he’d been drinking, Moroyoqui said, “It doesn’t even matter. It doesn’t matter.”