Alameda County prosecutors filed charges last week against a Manteca man with prior drunk-driving convictions for allegedly causing a high-speed crash while intoxicated near Dublin 15 months ago and running from the scene while his passenger lay dying on the freeway after being ejected from the car.
Alejandro Valencia Torres Jr., now 26, faces six felonies and seven special allegations in connection with the solo-vehicle wreck on westbound Interstate 580 that killed Kenia Hernandez Berber on Valentine's Day 2021.
The case remained under investigation by the California Highway Patrol's Dublin office for more than a year, including one exchange late last year in which the CHP presented initial findings to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office and prosecutors then requested more evidence, before the criminal complaint against Valencia Torres was filed last Wednesday.
Valencia Torres is scheduled for arraignment in Alameda County Superior Court in June. It is not immediately clear whether he is yet represented by an attorney. The defendant's last name is also recorded as ValenciaTorres.
Documents filed with the court in the case thus far serve to confirm early information reported publicly by CHP-Dublin, as well as reveal new details including the allegation that Valencia Torres fled after the crash but was soon apprehended at a gas station in Dublin.
The situation unfolded at around 4:45 a.m. Feb. 14, 2021, when a silver Toyota sedan traveling at a high rate of speed on westbound I-580 just west of the San Ramon Road/Foothill Road exit drifted out of control to the right, the CHP reported at the time. The car went up a dirt embankment and flipped over.
The impact of the crash caused passenger Hernandez Berber to be ejected from the sedan, landing face down on the freeway with major injuries. The 25-year-old woman was pronounced dead at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley later in the day.
Hernandez Berber, a native of Mexico, had been living in San Leandro and working as a nail artist in the Bay Area, according to a brief obituary online.
Upon arriving at the crash scene that morning, CHP Officer Amandeep Singh spoke with witnesses who said the driver ran away from the wreckage north of I-580 toward Dublin Boulevard, according to a probable cause declaration from Singh filed with the court.
The suspect -- later identified as Valencia Torres -- was spotted at the Shell gas station at Dublin Boulevard and San Ramon Road within the hour, according to the officer.
"Upon contact I immediately smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his person and his eyes were red and watery," Singh stated. "I read Torres his Miranda rights and he declined further questioning and testing."
The officer arrested Valencia Torres on suspicion of DUI just after 5:50 a.m. Feb. 14, 2021.
The CHP investigation concluded within the past several weeks, and the DA's office formally charged Valencia Torres for Hernandez Berber's death on May 25.
The six felony charges include murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with prior convictions, DUI-alcohol causing injuries with priors, DUI with a blood-alcohol content over the legal limit with priors, leaving the scene of a serious car accident and reckless driving causing great bodily injury.
He also faces special allegations including having a blood-alcohol content at or above 0.15%, speeding at least 30 mph over the posted maximum, causing serious injury to his passenger and having prior DUI convictions.
The criminal complaint cites three prior DUI convictions against Valencia Torres for incidents occurring within 11 days of each other in 2015, but two of the cases list the same offense date, conviction date and same relative case number.