Suspect in alleged DUI crash appears in court

By From page A3 | October 03, 2012

FAIRFIELD — A 71-year-old Fairfield man who careened into two minivans full of people, injuring 11, made his first court appearance since his arrest Sunday.

Shackled and wearing jailhouse garb, Joseph G. McDonald did not enter pleas to a pair of felony driving under the influence of alcohol charges. Instead his attorney, Denis Honeychurch, postponed his client’s arraignment until Friday.

Judge Wendy G. Getty advised McDonald that he could face up to 18 years in prison if he is convicted.

Honeychurch tried briefly to get McDonald’s bail set at $15,000. Deputy District Attorney Dana Vaughn asked for bail to be set at $250,000 because of the severity of the crash victims’ injuries. Of the 11 people injured, including a 6-year-old child, two of them suffered severe injuries. Nine of the crash victims were taken to local hospitals.

Police described all the injuries as not life-threatening. Police initially described the man as a 72-year-old Suisun City resident.

Getty set bail for McDonald at $210,000.

Fairfield police and firefighters and California Highway Patrol officers responded to what occurred on Waterman Boulevard near Interstate 80. McDonald was driving eastbound toward the freeway in a Ford Ranger pickup truck that crossed a double yellow line into the oncoming westbound traffic lanes.

After sideswiping a Toyota Sienna with a family of four inside, McDonald’s truck crashed head-on into a Kia Sedona with seven people inside.

McDonald was taken to a nearby hospital before he was taken to jail, where authorities say a breathalyzer test resulted in a 0.14 percent blood-alcohol level, nearly twice the legal limit.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 5 comments

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  • If this was a DUI Cop..this case would get swept!October 02, 2012 - 8:08 pm

    Look what has happened with drunk Law enforcers who have injured people in Solano County...They get rides home from their Cop coworkers, they don't get nearly the Bail, and they get reduced charges and sentences from our Judicial system..... Right or Wrong......Unfortuantly this Suspect won't get the same favorable treatment.

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  • marrick8791October 03, 2012 - 6:39 pm


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  • Richard MyerOctober 03, 2012 - 1:40 pm

    If you stopped drinking before you made the last post, it might make sense. They get rides home from their cop coworkers, they dont get nearly the bail??? If they get rides home, they dont get DUI's THEY are obviously smarter than you. Sounds like you got caught somewhere along the line....

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  • DUI CopsOctober 03, 2012 - 8:53 pm

    Solano County has a chronic problem with Law enforcers getting behind the wheel drunk! Just look at what happened recently with that Vacaville cop injuring 2 innocent motorist and then less then a year later he's pulled over again. Look at what his sentence was and compare it to what happens to this guy or any common man. The DA and Cops protect their own!

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  • sasquatchMarch 06, 2013 - 10:35 pm

    Saw this coming years ago. Guy's a local bar hopper. Multiple DUI's. But, if he gets 18 years or even half that, it's a life sentence.

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