By Chris Kramer
The charges continue to mount for a man who drove his car into a Carl’s Jr. restaurant in El Cajon, California, killing one unsuspecting driver.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the driver, Richard Alfred Daus, was recently charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence at the time of the deadly accident.
If he is convicted of these crimes, Daus could face a maximum of 15 years to life in prison. His charge falls into a section of the law that calls for a harsher sentence for those who have multiple previous DUI convictions on their record, or a prior vehicular manslaughter conviction.
Daus qualifies for this section of the law because he was convicted of reckless homicide in Cook County, Illinois, in 1952, and he has a drunk driving conviction for 1988, which occurred in Alaska.
Daus had a blood-alcohol content of 0.22 percent two hours after the fatal crash occurred, meaning he was almost three times above the legal limit for blood alcohol content, which is 0.08 percent.
Randy Eugene Smith was the victim in the accident. He was a regular at the Carl’s Jr. restaurant, and he was eating breakfast in a corner booth when the SUV of Daus crashed through the building. The crash was captured on surveillance video from a nearby bank.
Daus had been attempting to pull into an ATM machine at that bank. When he couldn’t get the car into the proper positioning, he finally opened the car door to get himself in position. The car lurched forward with the door open and Daus still in the driver’s seat, traveled 361 feet and collided with the Carl’s Jr. restaurant at 33 miles per hour.
Smith was thrown across the restaurant from the impact, and died before he could be taken to the hospital. According to the Union-Tribune, Daus was wedged between the dashboard and the seat of his car.
Officers on the scene said Daus’ eyes were red and watery, and his speech blurred.