A Palm Springs man pleaded guilty today to charges stemming from an alcohol- and drug-related motorcycle wreck that killed his passenger.
Gilbert Morones Jr. pleaded guilty to DUI gross vehicular manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter in the May 10, 2010, death of Valondra Lesher. The 51-year-old defendant allegedly had alcohol and drugs at the time of the crash.
Morones entered his plea at a hearing today at the Larson Justice Center in Indio. He is expected to be sentenced to 11 years in prison on Jan. 2, according to court records.
Morones was driving on North Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs when his Harley-Davidson rammed the curb bordering the median, then hit a hole, causing the back of the motorcycle to flip upward, Palm Springs police Officer Stephen Woodward said in a declaration in support of an arrest warrant.
Lesher, 45, of Desert Hot Springs, was thrown 75 feet and died within minutes of hitting the street. Morones landed on a bush and survived, Woodward said.
Blood taken that night determined that Morones had a blood-alcohol content of 0.13 — the legal limit is .08 — and had traces of methamphetamine and other drugs in his system. Morones told firefighters at the scene that he’d had a few beers, according to Woodward’s declaration.
Morones had two earlier DUI convictions, Woodward said. He was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.