A Hemet man with prior DUI convictions was found guilty Monday of second-degree murder in a head-on crash that killed his then-girlfriend’s 15-year-old daughter and seriously injured the teen’s 10-year-old sister, prosecutors said.
Jurors also convicted 28-year-old William Patrick Causer Jr. of child endangerment in connection with the March 2016 collision, according to a news release from the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.
Causer was driving under the influence of methamphetamine when the van slammed into a utility pole across from the Murrieta Police Station, the release stated. The vehicle was traveling an estimated 60 mph.
Summer Carbone and her younger sister were sleeping in the back of the van at the time; neither was wearing a seatbelt, authorities said.
The crash killed Summer and left the 10-year-old with a lacerated spleen and compound fracture to her right leg, according to prosecutors.
The children’s mother, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, ended up with a broken wrist in the crash.
Causer was prosecuted under the “Watson” law, which allows a second-degree murder charge to be filed against anyone with a previous DUI conviction who kills someone while driving under the influence, according to the DA’s office.
In this case, the defendant had been convicted twice of driving under the influence: once for alcohol, the other for meth, according to the release.
Causer faces 17 years to life in prison when he is sentenced next month.