Calif. Man Pleads Guilty in Traffic Deaths of 3

June 9, 2005

A Reseda, California man has pleaded no contest to gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence in connection with a San Fernando Valley traffic collision that claimed the lives of three people, the District Attorney’s office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Hilleri Merritt said Davinder Pal Singh Ghai, 43, also admitted that two victims who survived the Feb. 2, 2004, crash in Van Nuys suffered great bodily injury. Ghai entered the plea at a pretrial hearing.

Merritt said Ghai is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 20 by Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Barry Taylor, who heard this week’s plea. She said Ghai is scheduled to be sentenced to 14 years and eight months in state prison. He will have to serve 85 percent of the sentence before being eligible for parole, she added.

Ghai pleaded no contest to three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one count of driving under the influence causing injury. He remains in custody on $3 million bail.

The fatal collision occurred when Ghai’s car reportedly ran a red light at Victory Boulevard and Haskell Avenue in Van Nuys and hit the victims’ car. Killed were Daniella Ron, 19, of Van Nuys; her daughter, Darlene Zavala, 2; and Armando Marquez-Chavez, 23, of Sylmar. Their two passengers were injured, but survived.

Ghai originally was charged with both murder and gross vehicular manslaughter. The murder charges are expected to be dismissed at time of sentencing.

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