The man responsible for the death of a local businessman and his Lyft driver was found guilty of all charges against him last week.
The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office said on Friday that Joaquin Tapia Segoviano was convicted of two counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated and one count of hit-and-run involving the 2016 deaths of David Phillips and Anthony Pena.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Segoviano had been drinking on April 25, 2016, and stole his parents’ Nissan Altima to pick up a friend.
Segoviano was 16 then, and was driving at speeds as high as 70 miles an hour through Downtown Lodi.
He was driving north on Pleasant Avenue just before 8 p.m. that day, and failed to stop at the stop sign at Lodi Avenue, the District Attorney’s Office said.
The Altima he was driving collided with a Nissan Sentra that was traveling eastbound on Lodi Avenue, sending both cars into the Lodi House Thrift Store parking lot and bringing down a light post, according to News-Sentinel archives.
Segoviano was detained about a block away after he tried to flee. His friend fled the area on foot, according to records.
Lodi Police Department on Friday said the passenger, later identified as Moses Mercado, was arrested a few days later on a probation violation charge.
Pena was working as a Lyft driver and had just picked up Phillips when they were broadsided by the Altima, reports state.
Both Pena and Phillips were killed in the collision.
The District Attorney’s Office said Segoviano’s blood alcohol was determined to be 0.194 percent. The legal presumption for intoxication is 0.08 percent.
Many people who knew Phillips, co-founder of The Launchpad comic book store, expressed both sadness and relief on the District Attorney’s Facebook page Friday evening.
“David was a great soul who I used to have many deep conversations with when I was a Lyft driver and he would request rides,” Pete Hodge posted. “I have waited for this verdict for some time while keeping his wife in my prayers.”
“Dave will always be in our hearts but he deserved to be here with us for decades to come, making us laugh, think and find the better in ourselves and others,” Amber Danielle posted. “This defendant stole two loved men from this world, no sentence will be long enough, but my heart hopes for the maximum.”
Those who know Segoviano asked others not to judge so quickly, stating he was remorseful and had learned his lesson.
“People make mistakes and from the bottom of our heart we dearly say we are sorry for the family’s lost (sic)” Johanna Flores posted. “We have been in the same situation and we have also said no sentence will ever be enough for what has been done, but what I can say is he has learned from what has been done.”
Chelsea Jensen said that time after time, the public is cautioned that the teenage brain is not fully developed, which could have been a factor in Segoviano’s decision to drive drunk. She said he deserved to be punished, but questioned if he had learned a lesson.
“I’m not saying he deserves anything less,” she posted. “I am just saying you don’t know his past. Stop judging and hoping for the worst for this young man and picture your child making a mistake like this.”
Segoviano is scheduled to appear in San Joaquin County Superior Court on Sept. 23 for sentencing. He faces a maximum sentence of 13 years, the District Attorney’s Office said.