Driver in deadly DUI pleas not guilty to second-degree murder

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Twenty-seven year-old Carlos Bonifacio Garcia appeared in court earlier today.

He is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and driving under the influence causing injury.

Garcia entered a not guilty plea to all of those charges. 

Garcia is suspected of colliding with a pickup truck while driving drunk Sunday morning on Taft Highway.

Garcia has been in the hospital since the accident.

The driver of the pickup, 25-year-old Francisco Javier De La Cruz, later died of his injuries.

De La Cruz's family, including his fiancé Alisa Wheeler and her family were emotional after seeing Garcia in court.

"We can't get Frankie back and no matter how amount of time this man is going serve, he took something away from everybody," De La Cruz's mother-in-law Sheri Simonek said. "His boys will not have their father, they don't have their son, and my daughter doesn't have the man she love, the one she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, and it's not fair." 

De La Cruz and Wheeler have two kids together. 

Their families have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the De La Cruz family.

Police say Garcia was arrested for DUI in 2011 and pleaded no contest to that charge.

If convicted, Garcia is looking at a minimum of 15-years-to-life behind bars.

Garcia's bail is set at $1,050,000. 

His next court date is scheduled for August 1. 


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