Jose Vargas, Adelanto CA, repeat drunk driver kills Lisette Villasenor, California mom of three and injures two of her children in Hesperia wrong way collision as DUI driver now faces one count of murder charge.
A man with a history of drunk driving violations is accused of killing a mother of three and injuring two of her three children upon driving into oncoming traffic along a California highway.
Jose Vargas, 41, was driving a 2003 Chevy Tahoe north on Highway 395 in Hesperia about 6:30 p.m. May 11 when he crashed into a 2018 Toyota Prius driven south by Lisette Villasenor, 36, with daughter Ashley, 12, and son Daniel, 6, aboard, VVNG reported.
Villasenor, of Victorville, and her kids were rushed to a trauma center, where she was pronounced dead after sustaining massive injuries in the horrific crash, officials said.
Prior DUI history
The children were hospitalized with moderate to major injuries.
Vargas, of Adelanto who was not hurt in the wrong-way crash, was initially charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI with a blood alcohol of .08% or greater causing bodily injury — and later was booked with a count of murder, according to VVNG.
Of note, Vargas has multiple prior convictions for driving under the influence and was on probation for a 2022 felony conviction out of Orange County, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office said.
In 2019, he also was convicted of felony DUI, sentenced to 210 days behind bars, and received three years of probation.
Vargas was put on notice with a so-called ‘Watson Advisement,’ a formal statement that a person understands the dangers of DUI and that they can face murder charges if someone is killed as a result in the future.
‘If I continue to drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or both, and as a result of that driving, someone is killed, I can be charged with murder,’ it states in part.
Villasenor was on her way to the final day of cheer tryouts for her daughter at Cali Ontario when she was killed.
Ashley’s cheerleading team, California Allstars, launched a GoFundMe page to help the family.
‘Ashley will never be able to hug her mom again. We will never scream, shout and cheer for Cali-O teams alongside our quiet and passionate cheer mom, Lisette, again,’ organizer Lynette Bowen wrote.
‘A drunk driver stole Lisette’s future with her husband Humberto and three children Ashley, Julian, and Daniel. I would like to ask everyone to please wrap their arms around our cheer family and spread love and light. If you are able, please donate as the family needs support,’ she added.
In an update, the account said Daniel was discharged from the hospital and is recovering.
‘Our family appreciates everything that everyone is doing. The prayers and blessings of God helped Daniel with a speedy recovery. He has started to eat a bit, walk and talk. He is a strong little boy. Lisette is watching over all of us,’ the grieving family said in a statement.
Vargas pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday and was held without bail pending his next court appearance Thursday.