A 19-year-old Indio man pleaded guilty to causing the death of a friend in an alcohol-related crash and was sentenced to five years probation.
Derren Gary Teran admitted to one count of DUI vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and two counts of DUI causing injury in the March 3, 2013, crash that killed 18-year-old Victor Regalado Jr. of Indio. If he violates the terms of his probation, he must go to prison for 12 years, according to his attorney.
Regalado was thrown from a Jeep when it struck a curb and overturned at Adams Street and Avenue 40 in Indio and was declared dead about 40 minutes later at JFK Memorial Hospital. Two girls riding in the Jeep were hurt, according to court documents.
According to a declaration filed in support of an arrest warrant, Teran and Regalado met friends at a Circle K store on Monroe Street in Indio. One friend ``believed Derren was impaired and offered to drive the Jeep. Derren declined.''
Teran, Regalado and two girls got into the Jeep, while other friends got into another vehicle. One of the girls ``also asked Derren to allow her to drive the Jeep and his response was, `Nah.' ... (She) described Derren's driving actions to be, `Crazy,''' according to the declaration.
Teran started driving around Indio and, at one point, swerved onto the wrong side of Varner Road. The Jeep was going about 70 mph when one of the girls ``repeatedly told Derren to slow down, and his response each time was, `No, I'm the best drunk driver,''' the declaration stated.
Near the Avenue 40 intersection, one of the girls heard Teran say ``Unicorn,'' and the Jeep zigzagged, struck a curb and overturned, ejecting Regalado, according to the court document.
The declaration describes ``unicorn'' as a driving game. When someone says ``unicorn,'' the driver is supposed to swerve to avoid striking an imaginary object.
At the scene, Teran allegedly told a police officer he drank four or five alcoholic beverages before the crash, and his blood-alcohol was .15 percent, according to the declaration.
Defense attorney John Patrick Dolan said Teran and Regalado were friends who played youth sports together. At the time of the crash, Teran was an 18-year-old La Quinta High School student; Regalado went to Shadow Hills High School in Indio.
Teran was arrested and posted a $90,000 bond on Dec. 30. He was questioned after the crash but was not immediately arrested, because police were still collecting evidence, Dolan said.