SALINAS, Calif. (BCN)– A Greenfield man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for a 2021 DUI collision that killed a 23-year-old woman in San Ardo, Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine Pacioni announced Thursday. Balthazar Donato, 28, was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years to life in prison for second-degree murder.
He also received an additional five-year sentence for DUI causing injury with two prior DUIs and causing bodily injury to more than one victim, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said he was found guilty by a jury on Oct. 18 of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or above causing injury and driving on a suspended license.
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The jury also found true enhancements for Donato having two prior DUI convictions, causing bodily injury to more than one person and causing great bodily injury. On Feb. 2, 2021, Sabrina Lecce was driving south on U.S. Highway 101 in San Ardo when Donato, who was driving the wrong way on the highway, collided head-on with her vehicle, prosecutors said.
Lecce was pronounced deceased at the scene, and a passenger in the vehicle suffered a shoulder injury. Prosecutors said a subsequent blood test showed Donato’s blood-alcohol content was .19 percent, more than twice the legal limit.
Evidence also showed Donato was traveling at a speed of 87 mph within seconds of the collision, prosecutors said. Donato has prior convictions for DUI in Monterey County from 2012 and from Idaho in 2018.
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