For the most part, we’ve all been lucky not to be on the roadway when DUI king Robert Castle (16 arrests) or runner-up Karl Solid (9 arrests) were coming the other way. They’ve smashed up cars and caused some injury, albeit they have so far killed no one. That is the case with most of those currently charged in King County under the state’s new felony DUI law, with the exception of Yung-Cheng Tsai, who was convicted of vehicular homicide seven years ago in Pierce County and most recently was stopped for DUI while doing 95 mph on I-5.
Elissa Villegas was not so fortunate when an alleged drunk came her way. She was driving her silver Honda Accord westbound on 4-lane State Route 18 at 4:30 in the morning Jan. 6 when, authorities say, a drunken Ernest A. San Nicolas came straight at her, eastbound, in her lane. Villegas swerved into the second westbound lane to avoid San Nicolas’ own Honda Accord, but skidded sideways: San Nicolas’ wrong-way vehicle T-boned her car. Villegas, 25, of Federal Way, died at the scene.
Villegas' car (KOMO-TV)
According to a state trooper’s report, San Nicholas, 50, of Federal Way, was still sitting in his car, motor running, when a deputy sheriff arrived shortly at the crash scene: "San Nicolas had a strong odor of intoxicating liquor on his person. When he attempted to retrieve his wallet, he dropped it. When he bent down to pick it up, he fell to his hands and knees." He said he’d had "two doubles."
San Nicholas is now charged with vehicular homicide, a felony. If convicted, he could, under the new DUI law, be charged with felony DUI in the future should he drive drunk again. Any bets he won’t?