Police arrested a Rialto man Saturday night after he ran through a red light and plowed into another vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, killing a man and critically injuring a young child, before running away from the crash scene, officials said.
Jeffrey Michael Lukes, 37, was booked on suspicion of murder following the violent 3:50 a.m. crash at Fifth Street and Mount Vernon Avenue, according to the San Bernardino Police Department. Coroner’s records indicated the crash occurred a little over a mile to the east, at Fifth Street and Mountain View Avenue.
A 56-year-old San Bernardino man died in the crash, and a child described as 4 or 5 years old who was riding as a passenger with him was hospitalized in critical condition, according to police officials and San Bernardino County coroner’s records.
Jeffrey was at the wheel of a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck heading south on Mount Vernon Avenue when he blew through a red traffic signal at Fifth Street, officials said. A Honda Civic containing the two victims was headed east on Fifth Street.
“The driver of the pickup truck, Jeffrey Lukes, did not stop at the red signal and collided with the Honda Civic,” San Bernardino police Sgt. Jeff Harvey said in a written statement.
Paramedics pronounced the man who had been driving the Honda dead at the scene, he said. His identity was not release pending notification of family. The child was hospitalized with “major injuries” and was listed in critical condition.
“Lukes fled the scene on foot, but was later arrested,” Harvey said. “At this point in the investigation, it appears alcohol was a factor in this collision.”
Lukes has at least one prior DUI conviction in 2014, according to San Bernardino County Superior Court records. Under California law, the previous DUI conviction makes him eligible to be charged with murder for any subsequent DUI-related crashes that result in death.
He was also convicted in 2017 of drinking alcohol or ingesting marijuana while driving a vehicle, records show.
Lukes was being held without bail pending an arraignment hearing, scheduled Tuesday in San Bernardino County Superior Court, records show.
Any witnesses, or anyone with information, was urged to contact San Bernardino police investigators at 909-384-5792.