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Driver charged with murder in fatal Rohnert Park crash

A 23-year-old Santa Rosa man was charged with murder Tuesday in the Rohnert Park car crash last week that killed his passenger.

Rafael Prieto-Gonzalez, 23, appeared in court but did not enter a plea to the charges, which aside from murder also included gross vehicle manslaughter while intoxicated, reckless driving causing bodily injury and hit and run.

At least one of the counts requires a suspect be previously convicted of reckless driving or other vehicle violations. Police said Prieto-Gonzalez was on probation for a previous DUI and a domestic incident.

He is being held without bail and is scheduled to appear Monday for his arraignment hearing.

The man who died in the crash has been identified as Abel Acosta, 44, of St. Helena, the Sonoma County Coroner's Office said Tuesday.

Rohnert Park police have said that Prieto-Gonzalez was driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs around 8 p.m. Friday when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed broadside into a tree on Commerce Boulevard between Alison and Arlen Avenues.

Two people who witnessed the crash tried to help Prieto-Gonzalez, but he got out of the vehicle and went into a nearby neighborhood, police said. Officers later found Prieto-Gonzalez with injuries consistent with being in a crash. They booked him into jail after he was treated at the hospital.

Rohnert Park Police are still investigating the case, said Sgt. Jeff Justice.


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