A criminal complaint filed by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office indicates 35-year-old Ukiah man Ezequiel Ceja Guzman has been formally charged with felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and a misdemeanor charge for driving without a license as a result of a Tuesday night crash near Ukiah that resulted in the death of a passenger.
Guzman also faces two special allegations as a result of causing bodily injury to two other parties involved in the collision.
A review of records available via the Mendocino Superior Court Case Information Portal indicates Guzman was on active probation at the time of Tuesday’s fatal crash for a February 8, 2020 incident that resulted in him being charged with driving under the influence, driving without a license, and misdemeanor hit and run.
Guzman’s driving on Tuesday night resulted in the death of one of his passengers and left his other passenger 32-year-old Jesus Nava-Sandoval, with major injuries. The driver of the vehicle Guzman struck, 38-year-old Ukiah man Phillip Harrison, also suffered major injuries.
As per a press release from the California Highway Patrol, investigators found that 38-year-old Phillip Harrison was driving his 2019 Ford Fusion westbound on Talmage Road when 35-year-old Guzman in his 2001 Chevy Malibu, along with two passengers, crossed over to the “opposite lane directly in the path of the Ford.”
This deviation from the lane resulted in “the right front of the Chevy impact[ing] the right front of the Ford causing major intrusion into the right side passenger compartment of the Chevy.”
Medical personnel extricated Guzman, Nava-Sandoval, and Harrison from the vehicles who were all transported to area hospitals suffering moderate injuries.
Medical personnel attempted life-saving efforts but the “right-front passenger of the Chevy” succumbed to his injuries at the scene. This person’s identity is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin.
Scanner traffic from Tuesday night indicated that in the minutes preceding the collision the Chevy Malibu driven by Guzman had been reported as driving erratically and a reporting party told dispatch the vehicle had struck his before colliding with the Ford Fusion.
Guzman now sits in the Mendocino County Jail, booked the day following the collision, and faces a quarter-million dollar bond. He will be arraigned in the courtroom of Judge Keith Faulder on Monday, December 27, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.
Also, with due respect to the victim of the circumstances described, it must be stated that the charges described have not been proven in a court of law. In accordance with the legal principle of the presumption of innocence, any individual described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.