The Daly City man who fled the scene after causing a drunken high-speed crash in Colma last year that killed three passengers including his girlfriend was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison.
Paul Michael Anthony Diaz, 26, pleaded no contest in June to three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, drunk driving and hit-and-run in the May 27, 2013, crash that killed Ruvin Abel Vazquez, 22, Jonathan Jade Mouton, 21, and Rosa Maria Falla, 23, all of Daly City. Falla and Diaz were dating.
Diaz earned 873 days credit against his term while in custody on $1 million bail and must serve half the remaining time.
Although Judge Barbara Mallach offered Diaz a 15-year indicated maximum sentence when he accepted the plea deal, prosecutor Sean Gallagher sought the full 20 years he faced.
Prior to handing down the sentence, Mallach heard from Diaz who said he left the scene to get help although he never called police, Gallagher said.
Gallagher said Diaz also maintained he wasn’t speeding or intoxicated.
“He just doesn’t get that he did anything wrong,” Gallagher said.
Prosecutors say Diaz was speeding in his Mustang on Hillside Boulevard near the Cypress Lawn Funeral Home at 90-plus mph when he crashed into the back of a Honda, pushing it into a cemetery while he lost control and smashed into a retaining wall. The Mustang split in two, ejecting the three passengers. Diaz allegedly approached Falla’s body after the crash before running away. The Honda’s driver was not seriously injured.
He surrendered to Daly City police about five hours later which left authorities determining his blood alcohol level based on a scientific formula.
Prosecutors originally looked at increasing the charges against Diaz to murder but opted against doing so after weighing factors like his driving record and the short amount of time he was driving before he lost control. Diaz has a prior misdemeanor drunk driving conviction.
Mallach also ordered Diaz to pay one victim $26,460 in restitution and amounts to be determined to seven others.
Members of Diaz’s and the victims’ families also addressed the court.
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