Richard Sepolio, a 27-year-old Navy petty officer, made the life-altering decision to drink and drive back in October of 2016. Now, on February 13th, he has been convicted of vehicular manslaughter as a result.
Back in 2016, the petty officer was allegedly arguing with his girlfriend on the night in question. The two were bickering back and forth over the phone as Sepolio attempted to cross the San Diego-Coronado Bridge. His emotional state may have encouraged him to attempt the risky maneuver of speeding past another vehicle.
As he tried to make the pass, he accidentally lost control of his truck. Tragically, the vehicle smashed into the bridge’s concrete barrier and plummeted over 60 feet. The vehicle smashed into a lively crowd who were celebrating at Chicano Park. Sadly, the car landed directly atop vendor booths where crowds were gathered.
At least seven individuals were injured, and four people were killed in the accident.
Sepolio has been on trial for over a month. At worst, he could have been sentenced to up to 18 years in prison for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. During the trial, however, the jury ultimately found him guilty of the lesser offense of driving under the influence causing injury.
Sepolio admitted to having about two drinks earlier in the day at trial, but he denied being drunk at the time of the crash. The defense and prosecution were in disagreement about whether Sepolio was impaired over the legal limit or not. It was discovered that the suspect’s vehicle was traveling at an unreasonable 81 miles per hour, and the prosecutors argued that he chose to drive “irritated, impaired and impatient.”