An Auburn man who caused a multi-vehicle collision on the I-15 in Temecula, California that killed a woman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and various other charges on May 27.
Javier Caldera, 27, admitted to several counts, including second-degree murder, felony driving under the influence of drugs, reckless driving, and hit-and-run with sentence-enhancing great bodily injury. Caldera’s plea was made directly to Riverside County Superior Court Judge F. Paul Dickerson.
On June 4, 2019, Caldera was traveling more than 100 mph in a Chevrolet Silverado on I-15, near Rancho California Road. His truck rammed into the back of Janet Genao’s Nissan Altima at 7:28 a.m., which caused a chain-reaction crash with four other vehicles.
The Nissan Altima was flattened by the impact, killing Janet Genao, 44.
The severe force of the crash sent a white Chevrolet Tahoe off of the road and into a parking structure west of the freeway. The truck was mangled and the motorist inside, Mike Rivera, suffered critical injuries, including broken ribs and a fractured leg.
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In an interview with NBC Los Angeles, Rivera, a 38-year-old husband, and father of five, said he was shocked he made it out alive.
“I remember waking up in the truck, trapped in between the steering wheel and the back of the truck,” Rivera recalled, saying the entire event was a blur.
“I took off my seat belt,” Rivera said. “I think I tried to stand up. That was the last thing I remember.”
Rivera has since recovered.
Two other drivers, including Caldera, suffered minor injuries.
Dickerson will impose the sentencing on July 28. The minimum possible sentence Caldera could receive would be 15 years to life in prison, though it could be increased to 23 years to life. Caldera is being held without bail while he awaits sentencing.
Caldera has prior convictions in Washington state, including felony attempts to elude law enforcement and driving under the influence. Under California law, a convicted DUI offender who causes someone’s death knowing the risks of drinking and driving can be charged with murder.