A Bakersfield man who was drunk when he caused a crash that killed 4- and 7-year-old siblings on Labor Day last year could spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading no contest to two murder charges Monday.
Jerald Brandon Holman pleaded no contest Monday to two counts of second-degree murder and one count of driving under the influence causing injury of death for a September 2016 crash on Highway 166. In exchange for his plea, charges of vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI were dismissed.
Holman, 37, will serve 30 years to life in state prison.
He was driving a 2008 Toyota Camry carrying his 26-year-old girlfriend and the two children west on Highway 166 about 34 miles east of Highway 101, when he took a curve at what the CHP estimated was 104 mph.
The Camry veered into the path of a 2013 Chevrolet containing a family from Yucaipa. That car’s driver tried to swerve to the left to avoid a collision, according to the CHP, but instead hit the left rear of the Toyota.
The Toyota went airborne, rolling several times and coming to rest on its roof. The rear passenger compartment separated from the front passenger and engine compartment, the CHP said.
The children — a 7-year-old boy and his 4-year-old sister — were ejected from the vehicle and declared dead at the scene.
The Chevrolet’s occupants were all transported by helicopter to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with moderate or minor injuries.
Holman’s girlfriend, also from Bakersfield, had minor injuries, according to the CHP. According to court records, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office does not intend to pursue charges against the girlfriend.
The DA’s Office says Holman’s blood alcohol content was found to be 0.11, over the legal limit, four hours after the crash.
His attorney, Linden Mackaoui, could not immediately be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
Holman is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 8.