BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Despite drinking three Long Island iced teas while bowling with his wife and children, Sean Pierre Pantoja believed he was fine to drive, according to his statement to the California Highway Patrol.
He said he and his two children, both underage, got in a pickup the night of Sept. 22 and he began driving east on Randsburg Cutoff Road, according to newly-released court documents. He turned to speak to his son when he collided with a Toyota Camry in the Mojave area.
The Camry’s driver, Garrett William Houston, 39, died at the scene. The children were taken to Antelope Valley Hospital for treatment of cuts and whiplash, the documents say.
Pantoja told officers the Toyota crossed into his lane.
“F— that guy,” Pantoja said according to the documents. “That guy that hit me . . . if that guy would have killed my kid, I would have killed him my damn self.”
According to CHP, it was Pantoja, not the other driver, who veered into the opposite lane. Breath tests revealed Pantoja’s blood-alcohol content as 0.16%, twice the legal limit.
Pantoja, 31, is charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, two counts of DUI causing injury and two counts of child cruelty. His arraignment is set for Oct. 16.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Houston, who worked as a correctional officer in California City.
A witness to the crash whose vehicle was hit by debris said the pickup entered the opposite lane and collided head-on with the Toyota, the reports say.
An officer wrote Pantoja had “very slurred” speech and “red and glassy” eyes. Asked about his alcohol consumption, Pantoja said the Long Island ice teas — which typically contain vodka, rum tequila and gin — were served in 16-oz. glasses.
He told the officer he started drinking at 6 p.m. at P-Dubs Brew Pub/Mountain Bowling in Tehachapi and finished his last drink at 8:45 p.m.
The crash was reported at 10:12 p.m., according to CHP. It occurred a mile west of Highway 14.