Driver Charged with Second Degree Murder in Death of Construction Workers

(Hipolito Paez: Courtesy of the Orange Police Department)

On Thursday in Orange around 8:50 p.m., Hipolito Paez, 30,  was driving westbound on Santiago Canyon road when he collided with construction crew working near the Jamboree Road intersection.

The crew was setting up an arrow board in the bike lane, where a construction pick-up truck was parked, to warn drivers of the construction work ahead, authorities said

Paez killed two of the construction workers Elias Juarez, 51, and James Sanderson, 35, who were pronounced dead at the scene. Paez is under suspicion of drunk driving as his blood alcohol level was about .12 percent, above the .08 percent limit that is safe for driving a vehicle. 

Paez had other misdemeanor DUI charges for an unrelated incident and at the time of is arrest on Thursday, he had a warrant already issued against him after failing to appear at a court hearing.  

Paez pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon to two counts of second-degree murder, as well as a misdemeanor count of driving without a valid license.

If convicted, Paez faces up to 30 years to life in state prison.

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