Lakeside man pleads guilty to vehicular homicide

A 50-year-old man who caused a crash that killed one of his passengers pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide Wednesday.
Jessica Cuffman
Dec 29, 2011


A 50-year-old man who caused a crash that killed one of his passengers pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide Wednesday.

Jose Castrejon, of Lakeside, made the plea in Ottawa County Common Pleas court with the help of his Fremont attorney and interpreter, James Melle.

He was indicted on a felony for causing the Nov. 7 crash but agreed to plead guilty to a reduced form of the charge, a first-degree misdemeanor still punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
While answering Judge Bruce Winters’s questions in court, he showed remorse for causing the crash, though such sentiments usually are reserved for sentencing hearings.

Castrejon, a legal resident but not a citizen of the United States, answered the questions in Spanish.
“Then he starts talking about how sorry he is,” Melle said, interpreting for his client.
“I approached the stop sign and when the other car was coming, I stopped,” Castrejon said in Spanish to Melle.

Troopers said Castrejon was driving west on Port Clinton Eastern Road when he pulled out in front of another car driving south on Ohio 269 at about 10:15 p.m.

In court Wednesday, Castrejon told the judge he didn’t see the other car at the intersection.
The vehicles collided.

Castrejon’s van spun around, and one of his passengers, Manuel Lopez-Lopez, 25, was thrown from the vehicle.

Then the van ran over Lopez and killed him.

Lopez wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

“It was an accident. It was my fault,” Castrejon said.

He also told the judge he has diabetes, and when his insulin is unbalanced, it affects his vision.
“I just didn’t see him. I think it was because of the diabetes. I couldn’t see as well. It was night. I shouldn’t have been driving,” he said through his attorney.

In addition to jail time and a fine, Castrejon’s license also could be suspended for up to five years.


Ned Mandingo

Jose caused a accident with his van that killed Manuel? You can't make something like that up. I say deport him with no jail time. No harm no foul.


Jose admits his culpability and is obviously remorseful.  It truly appears to have been an accident, in fact it took awhile for the passenges and authorities to realize that Manuel was missing from the van. (This info was given to me from very knowledgeable sources.)  He is living here and making a living here and has legal status.  Because of his legal status I don't think he should be automatically deported.  It he were illegal that would be another story.  He should be sentenced to jail time, probation or both as the judge decides.  There is no mention of a criminal history.  If he had attained citizenship, deportation would not be an issue.   There are many legal aliens living in our country and kudos to them for trying to improve their lots in life.  Should we kick out everyone including citizens for having an accident?  I think not!   Also, even though there was no foul there most certainly was harm done.  The victim had family, relatives and friends as well as co-workers.  I'm sure that they are all  grieving their loss.   If the sentence should come down to serving time or being deported, Jose should certainly be allowed a say in the choice.




nothing makes me more pi$$ed then these morons who cant speak english or choose not to speak it and are able to have licenses and other freedoms and dont even belong here.............but thats the american we have to keep feeding him, hire an interperter all because his passenger chose to not buckle his seatbelt.


 @ Nobody cares...How ignorant can you be? Who is to say that this man doesn't work to make a living? Or that he isn't trying to learn english? I don't personaly know this man but we all make mistakes and he shows that he is remorseful for what has happened. Please don't make assumptions just because of their immigration status.