After a final farewell to Gavin Gladding Monday morning, the attention now turns to the suspect in his death. California Highway Patrol is still conducting their investigation on exactly what happened on Sept. 16. The details everyone is waiting to hear — what did the suspect’s alleged passenger see during that drive?
Rogelio Alvarez, 18, turned himself into authorities Friday and bailed out of jail on Saturday. Out of his three charges, legal analyst Charles Magill said his vehicular manslaughter charge is the one that bears the most weight in potential jail time.
“The most exposure he’s looking at is four [years], but that could be considered a wobbler and be reduced to a year in county jail,” he said.
Magill adds it’s the hardest to prove. That’s where Alvarez’s passenger comes in, Magill said her testimony could determine how severe Alvarez’s sentence would be if convicted on the charge.
“Let’s assume he’s driving drunk, [the passenger] could testify that he was driving recklessly, then that would be gross manslaughter. If not, it would be misdemeanor manslaughter,” he said.
As far as any charges for the passenger herself, she could be charged as an accessory to the hit-and-run charge.
“She could say, we didn’t expect to see anybody in the roadway out there at that point. So, it was just an accident and when he hit him we both freaked out,” Magill said.
Magill adds the hit-and-run charge could get Alvarez nearly an extra year and a half behind bars. Also, the third charge on driving without a license, is going to be the least of Alvarez’s worries.
Alvarez’s first court appearance is Oct. 5.