Teen killed in one of two alleged DUI crashes on the Cuesta Grade

Gino Lopez
Gino Lopez

Correction: This story has been changed to report the correct bail amount for Gino Lopez. He was being held without bail.

An Arvin man was arrested on suspicion of murder and felony drunken driving after a 16-year-old Wasco girl was killed Friday night in a series of Cuesta Grade crashes, according to the CHP.

Drivers suspected to be intoxicated were factors in the two incidents. Both collisions involved multiple vehicles and occurred on southbound Highway 101, just south of TV Tower Road, according to a CHP news release and Sgt. Eric Martinez.

Officers are still investigating to determine whether the first, fatal accident contributed to the second, less serious crash.

Teen passenger killed in three-vehicle collision

The first crash occurred about 8:30 p.m. Gino Lopez, 21, was allegedly driving his 1994 Honda Civic at a high rate of speed when he lost control and crashed into a metal guardrail and collided with a tractor-trailer. Lopez had three passengers: the 16-year-old girl, 19-year-old Brittany Arreola and Henry Aguilar, 18, all of Wasco.

A 2016 Volvo then crashed into the Honda, causing the 16-year-old to be ejected from the Civic.

The victim’s name is not being released pending notification of next of kin, Martinez said.

Although Lopez is thought to have been wearing a seat belt, Martinez said, the 16-year-old and the other two passengers were not.

After the crash, Lopez and Aguilar exited the Honda and they walked away from the crash scene, Martinez said. A northbound CHP officer stopped the two about 500 feet from the scene of the accident. CHP said on its incident report Friday night that two suspects were seen throwing beer bottles out of the car, but Martinez could not confirm that Saturday morning.

Arreola suffered major injuries and was taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. She was listed in critical condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit on Saturday morning, hospital spokesman Ron Yukelson said.

Aguilar and Lopez were treated there for non-life threatening injuries.

Geneva Van Beurden, a passenger in the Volvo, suffered minor injuries and was treated at French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. The tractor-trailer driver was not treated, Martinez said.

Lopez was booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of murder, gross vehicle manslaughter while intoxicated, felony driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a suspended or revoked license, according to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office website. He was being held without bail as of Saturday night.

The incident remains under investigation.

Woman arrested on suspicion of DUI after crash

A second series of crashes occurred about 9 p.m., behind the scene of the first accident.

Lindsay Byers, 38, of Arroyo Grande was driving a silver Honda CR-V when she was involved in a rear-end collision that included three other vehicles, Martinez said.

A Toyota Sienna minivan and GMC Sierra and Toyota Tacoma trucks were also involved in the crash. Only minor injuries were reported, Martinez said.

Byers was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. She was being held in jail in lieu of $100,000 bond as of Saturday morning.