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Driver faces 15 years in death of walker near Cowles Mountain

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SAN DIEGO -- A repeat DUI offender accused of driving drunk and fatally striking a mother of three who was out for a walk in the Lake Murray/San Carlos area last summer was ordered Monday to stand trial on murder, gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI charges.

Joshua Daniel Taylor, 38, faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted in the Aug. 13 death of 38-year-old Rocio Leamon.

San Diego police Officer Jason Costanza testified during this morning's preliminary hearing that Taylor showed signs of impairment when he spoke with him on the side of the road after the 6:20 p.m. accident.

A witness saw Taylor throw something in the bushes following the collision, and a bottle of vodka was recovered, Costanza testified.

After Taylor was arrested, he told Costanza that he had been arrested for DUI before and had completed an 18-month class regarding the dangers of drinking and driving, the officer said.

When asked if he took anything from the class, Taylor responded, "Apparently not,'' Costanza testified.

Asked if he knew the dangers of drinking and driving, Taylor said, "It's common sense,'' according to the officer.

Deputy District Attorney Steven Schott said Leamon was walking to Cowles Mountain on Aug. 13 when she stopped at the intersection of Navajo Road and Golfcrest Drive and pushed the button to wait for the walk sign.

Fifteen seconds after the victim entered the intersection, Taylor drove through it against a red light -- going between 44-59 mph in a 50 mph zone -- striking Leamon and carrying her 57 feet before she landed face-down on the pavement, the prosecutor alleged. She was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.

Taylor -- who has prior DUI convictions from 1996 and 2000 -- had a blood-alcohol content of .23 percent,  nearly triple the legal limit, an hour after the accident, Schott said.

Judge Jeffrey Fraser determined that enough evidence was presented to warrant a trial, and scheduled a Jan. 20 Superior Court arraignment date for the defendant.

3 comments

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  • Steve Strokemayer

    As I read this I became more and more upset……..this POS deserves life with no chance for parole. He got at least two wake up calls that he chose to ignore….

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