A suspected drunken driver from Santa Rosa was charged with second-degree murder in a Sonoma County courtroom Friday, the morning after an Arizona woman died from injuries she sustained when, authorities said, he crashed into her vehicle.
Pablo Jacobo, 33, is accused in the death of Lori Ryan, 53, a satellite test engineer from Anthem, Ariz., who was visiting the area with her longtime boyfriend, Donald Kraft. The crash occurred Sunday on Los Amigos Road north of Windsor.
Kraft said that Ryan died late Thursday at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, surrounded by family members who flew in from multiple states to be by her side, including her two college-age sons.
Ryan was a highly skilled engineer for Boeing and a triathlete who participated in many outdoor adventures, said Kraft, her boyfriend of six years. Ryan leaves behind her sons, parents, a sister and two brothers.
“She was a very smart person; she knew life,” said Kraft, 54, of Chandler, Ariz.
A second-degree murder conviction carries a potential 15-years-to-life prison term.
The second-degree murder charge is possible because of Jacobo’s two previous DUI convictions, one in 2007 and another in 2012. He was on probation and his license was suspended at the time of the crash.
Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said that Jacobo admitted he had been drinking prior to the crash.
“Unfortunately, too many people still see the worst-case scenario to driving impaired as a misdemeanor conviction, fine, and a few days in jail,” Ravitch said in a statement. “Tragically, however, this is a realistic reminder of the true worst-case scenario: a catastrophic ending that affects so many lives and is simply and completely avoidable.”
On Sunday, Ryan and Kraft were in Sonoma County during a quick three-day getaway. Kraft was driving the pair to Merriam Vineyards in Healdsburg in a 2015 Dodge Charger. Ryan was in the passenger seat.
They were about to turn right from Los Amigos Road into the vineyard driveway when the crash occurred.
Behind the wheel of a 2004 Ford Mustang, Jacobo drove into opposing traffic, struck a 2013 Chevrolet Traverse and then smashed into the Dodge, sending the vehicle spinning into a ditch.
CHP Officer Jon Sloat said that Jacobo’s blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit for driving.
The driver of the Chevrolet, Douglas Sherman, 42, of Stockton, was not injured but his passenger, Carol Sherman, 42, of Stockton was in pain after the crash and was taken to a hospital, said.
Jacobo was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and booked into the Sonoma County Jail. In addition to the second-degree murder charge, prosecutors Friday also charged Jacobo with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, drunken driving causing injury and driving with a suspended license.
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jjpressdem.