Trial date confirmed for accused drunken driver in crash that killed mother and her 5-year-old son

Crime Watch

Daniel Mejia stands next to his attorney during a court hearing Jan. 24.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The trial of a Redlands man charged with two counts of second-degree murder in a fiery crash that killed a 5-year-old boy and the child’s mother has been confirmed to begin next month.

A trial date of Feb. 3 was given for Daniel Mejia, 24, and attorneys said in court Friday that the trial is expected to last four weeks.

In addition to the murder counts, Mejia is charged with two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI causing bodily injury.

The crash happened on Nov. 24, 2017, at about 4:16 p.m. on southbound Highway 99, just north of Taft Highway.

Juan Rodriguez Garcia was driving his family when he slowed down and pulled over his Jeep at the center divider to change a flat tire.

That’s when Mejia, who was driving a black Chevy Silverado at a high rate of speed, slammed into the back of the family’s Jeep, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Jeep rolled several times and ended up on the center divider, where it caught fire. 

The crash killed 5-year-old Axel Rodriguez and injured his mother, Karla Mendoza, 21, , who died the next day. Axel’s 3-year-old sister, Zoey Mendoza, suffered moderate injuries.

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