Man gets 15 years to life in prison for causing deadly North County crash

A Bakersfield man convicted of murder for causing a deadly accident at a North County construction site could be off the road the rest of his life after his Superior Court sentencing.

Jerad Cross, 32, was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years to life in prison for causing the death of Richard Gamez, 45, of Clovis on Nov. 7, 2012. Cross was a driving a truck hauling two large storage containers near Paso Robles when he slammed into Gamez’s pickup truck, which was stopped behind a semi-truck. At the time of the crash, Cross was under the influence of prescription drugs, which he had crushed and snorted to have a greater affect.

The District Attorney’s Office pursued a second-degree murder charge partly because of Cross’ troubling record of traffic offenses. Cross, who had five speeding tickets, three at-fault accidents and a previous DUI, was driving with a suspended license at the time of the fatal wreck.

At trial, his attorney argued that he was not guilty of murder because he didn’t realize he was putting others at risk.

Cross was also convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving with a suspended license and possession of drug paraphernalia.