A 20-year-old driver was sentenced in Las Vegas for causing a DUI auto accident that killed his best friend. The driver, named Ceasar Mendoza received his jail sentence in a Clark County court on Wednesday. Mendoza, who was the age of 19 at the time of the southern Nevada DUI traffic fatality, was known to be driving the car that crashed, while his friend who lost his life in the car crash was in the passenger seat. His friend, who Mendoza called his best friend in an official statement shown further along in this article, was 21-year-old Alejandro Jaracuaro. Jaracuaro was a resident of nearby St. George, Utah. When Mendoza was arrested, it was on charges of driving under the influence and causing a loss of life. Tragically, the traffic fatality, in this case, was his best friend Jaracuracoa. Mendoza pleaded guilty to the DUI charges levied against him in a court in Las Vegas in June of this year. There were two other passengers in the car the night of the traffic fatality, both individuals were injured in the auto wreck, but both survived the accident that night. The car accident happened because Mendoza, while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, ran a red light and slammed into two other cars on the corner of Russel and Jones Avenue on the southern side of the Las Vegas valley.
Holding a handwritten statement, Mendoza was obviously overcome with grief and emotion when he addressed the judge in his Clark County court hearing on Wednesday. Mendoza tried to put into words the pain of losing his "other half", Jaracuaro, after finding out that he died in the DUI crash the night he was arrested. "He was my first love. He was my best friend. He meant the world to me,” Mendoza said on record. “I don’t even know how to tell you how hard it hit me when I heard that he didn’t make it the night of the accident.” Because the driver and the victim were very close, Mendoza received an outpouring of love and support from his best friend's family. They even attended the hearing with the hopes that Mendoza would be given a lighter sentence. Mendoza's attorney also provided the judge with a stack of written letters, all speaking on behalf of Mendoza's character and vouching for him as a contributing member of society. According to local Las Vegas news sources, Mendoza did not have a criminal record of any kind.
Unfortunately for Mendoza, the Las Vegas courts take DUI very seriously. He was sentenced to three to eight years of time behind bars to be served in a Clark County prison. This is the second lightest sentence possible, with the judge noting that Mendoza was driving with a suspended license at the time of the fatal DUI crash. Now, he not only has to spend several years in jail, he also lost his best friend because he decided to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated. That action will stay with him the rest of his life. Las Vegas ranks particularly high for DUI auto accidents, because drinking is a major part of the local culture and entertainment scene. Even though DUI is considered criminal activity and harsher punishments have been put into place by law enforcement, it is still an almost daily occurrence on southern Nevada roads. If you or someone you care about has been injured or killed in a Las Vegas DUI car crash, you need to hire an aggressive attorney who has experience with DUI cases and will fight for your interests. Benson and Bingham are Clark County's top DUI auto accident attorneys, and they're ready to give you a free consultation to move quickly on your case. When tragedy strikes, especially because someone decides to put themselves or others in danger by drinking and driving, it's important to know who to call. Benson and Bingham can and will take care of you in your hour of need. Call Benson and Bingham today!