Driver in fatal Fresno crash laughed about wait for blood draw. Now he’s going to prison

A Fresno man whose blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit of intoxication was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday for causing a hit and run crash that killed a Sanger father and injured his 8-year-old son.

Miguel Angel Escamilla, 26, pleaded no contest in January to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol and hit and run resulting in permanent injury or death.

Several other charges, including driving without a valid driver’s license, failing to stop and DUI with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08 were dropped as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Fresno Police said the crash happened on Feb. 28, 2021 at about 6 a.m. in the intersection of Church and Sunnyside avenues. Escamilla was driving a BMW south on Sunnyside Avenue when he blew through the stop sign on Church Avenue, slamming into a Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck driven by Daniel Barrera, 34.

Also in the truck was Barrera’s 8-year-old son, who was out early with dad for a morning hike.

Barrera suffered major injuries and would later die at Community Regional Medical Center. His son was also injured, but survived.

Escamilla was arrested nearby, despite trying to flee the scene of the crash.

During his sentencing, Judge Kimberly Gaab gave her condolences to Barerra’s relatives, including his fiancee Cendy Gomez, who was six months pregnant at the time of the crash. The baby was born in June 2021.

“I am very, very sorry for your loss,” Gaab said. “This was a horrendous case, there are just no other words for it. The defendant will have to live with what he did and he will have a lot of time in prison thinking about that.”

Prosecutor Steven Ueltzen said he was satisfied with the outcome of the sentencing, saying Escamilla deserved prison.

“He acted without any regard for the lives of other people,” Ueltzen said. “And he showed no remorse up to and including his conduct in the hospital. He was laughing at the delay in the blood test, saying that by the time they got the results he would be sober.”

His blood alcohol concentration was .13 four and a half hours after the crash, according to court records. The legal limit is .08.

Barrera’s fiancee said she was shocked to hear about Escamilla’s actions at the hospital.

“We are the ones who are suffering and he was laughing,” Gomez said. “He didn’t care about what he did.”

Civil lawsuit alleges driver had just left a party at an Airbnb

A civil lawsuit, filed by Barrera’s family against Escamilla, alleges that just prior to the crash, the defendant was coming from a party at an Airbnb for his 20-year-old cousin.

A Ring doorbell camera captured video of a “highly intoxicated” Escamilla “leaning against walls and urinating off the porch,” according to the lawsuit.

The home’s owner shut the party down and Escamilla is seen on the video visibly angry and leaving, driving away in his newer-model BMW. Moments later, the audio from the Ring camera captures the sound of the crash, two blocks away, according to the lawsuit.

Yan Shrayberman, Escamilla’s defense attorney, called the crash a “senseless crime” but one that his client feels sorry about.

Escamilla elected not to speak during his sentencing, choosing instead to write a letter to the judge expressing his remorse.

“My client fully supported the decision for a 12-year sentence, that’s why he pleaded no contest,” said Shrayberman.