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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Guilty Plea Entered By Man Who Killed CA Tow Truck Driver In 2008

Tow truck driver Gregory Gerbing died in 2008 after being struck on the side of the road. Here's a 2009 story posted on TowBlog.

Here's the recent Press-Enterprise story on the man who killed him:

Moreno Valley man is expected to be sentenced to 10 years in prison for a drunken driving crash that killed a tow-truck driver.

Oswaldo Lopez, 31, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of DUI gross-vehicular manslaughter in the 2008 death of Gregory Gerbing, 41.

Lopez was originally charged with murder after he crashed his pickup into Gerbing's tow truck on the shoulder of Interstate 215 at the Highway 60 interchange near Box Springs Road.

Gerbing, who worked for Perris-based Smedley Towing, was kneeling on the shoulder of southbound I-215 while clearing an overturned vehicle shortly after midnight. CHP officers were with him when the crash occurred.

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors plan to dismiss the murder charge and three other DUI-related felonies when Lopez is sentenced. His sentencing is scheduled for March 10.

Lopez's attorney, Souley Diallo, said his client wanted to plead guilty to the manslaughter charge earlier, but the murder charge was a sticking point.

The plea agreement reached Friday would give Lopez the maximum sentence possible for the manslaughter charge.

The CHP recommended the murder charge because Lopez is a repeat offender. Lopez was convicted of DUI in December 2007, and his license was reinstated just two months before the deadly crash.

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