A Lodi man pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon to more than a dozen criminal charges related to an October 2013 crash that killed six people, including a pregnant mother and her unborn child.
Ryan Christopher Morales, 28, who was arrested while being treated in a Sacramento area hospital nearly two weeks after the crash, faces six counts of murder, six counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, two felony counts of DUI and other charges.
According to court documents, Morales had a blood-alcohol level of .20 when admitted to the hospital. Investigators also found that the needle of the speedometer on the SUV he was driving was stuck past 100 miles per hour, which they believe indicates the speed of the vehicle at the time of the crash, police say in the documents.
Morales sat next his attorney, public defender Sam Behar, who entered the plea in front of Judge Xapuri Villapudua. A preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin April 1.
Morales is accused of causing a six-vehicle crash that killed six members of a Lodi family, including a pregnant mother, and left another six people injured on Oct. 22 at the intersection of Ham Lane and Vine Street.
Morales was extracted from the vehicle and later placed in a medically induced coma. During an interview with the Lodi News-Sentinel from San Joaquin County Jail, Morales said he doesn’t remember anything from the accident. He said he his last memory was drinking with his father at their Lodi home.
Morales is currently being held without bond.
Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at email@example.com.