A Vancouver man was sentenced Tuesday to more than nine years in prison for an August 2020 drunk-driving crash that killed a motorcyclist in the Minnehaha area.
Carlos J. Hoyos Gonzalez, 27, pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court to vehicular homicide while driving under the influence and ignition interlock device violation. He was originally also charged with third-degree driving with a suspended or revoked license and hit-and-run of unattended property.
Hoyos Gonzalez apologized to the family of 59-year-old Mark C. Holm of Vancouver. He said if he could go back in time and bring back Holm, he would, and he asked for the family’s forgiveness. Hoyos Gonzalez said he did not wake up that morning intending to kill someone.
Judge Suzan Clark followed the negotiated sentencing recommendation of 110 months. However, she said she believed Hoyos Gonzalez deserved more prison time for his “horrendously stupid choice to get behind the wheel.”
She said the Holm family lost their loved one “in the most senseless way possible” and noted that drunk driving is “a widespread problem.”
According to court records, Hoyos Gonzalez had two prior arrests for drunken driving, most recently in May 2020. He was required to have an ignition interlock device in his vehicle, which he did not have.
Clark County sheriff’s deputies were called at about 5:20 p.m. Aug. 19, 2020, for an injury crash at the intersection of Northeast Minnehaha Street and 47th Avenue.
They learned that Hoyos Gonzalez was driving a 1997 Ford Econoline van west in the left lane of Minnehaha, apparently racing a purple Lexus sedan in the right lane. The sedan turned right onto 47th Avenue, according to court records. Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Smith said Tuesday that Hoyos Gonzalez made a 270-degree turn in the middle of the intersection.
Hoyos Gonzalez turned into the path of Holm, who was riding a 2020 Kawasaki EX400 motorcycle west on the roadway. The motorcycle struck the right front of the van, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Holm was pronounced dead at the scene.
A witness said the van had left the road several blocks before the crash and may have struck a fence. It continued west on Minnehaha, weaving in and out of the lanes, and nearly struck other vehicles, the affidavit says. Dispatch had also received multiple 911 calls about the van being involved in several hit-and-run crashes.
A detective on scene saw empty beer bottles in Hoyos Gonzalez’s van. Hoyos Gonzalez told deputies he had been drinking alcohol “just down the road” before the fatal crash. He initially agreed to a field sobriety test but changed his mind after it started, the affidavit says. A search warrant was obtained to draw Hoyos Gonzalez’s blood for testing. His blood alcohol content was 0.20, Smith said, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a statement last year saying that Hoyos Gonzalez “is a Mexican citizen and convicted criminal alien who is in the United States illegally.”