Detectives to seek murder charge in fatal DUI investigation  

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. Courtesy of the city of Santa Clarita.

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station detectives Thursday arrested the driver suspected of crashing on Bouquet Canyon Road the previous morning, killing the passenger in his car. 

Sgt. Mark Perkins of the Sheriff’s Station Traffic Unit said a murder charge was being presented against 20-year-old Raul Ramirez, of Canyon Country. 

On Thursday, medical examiners with the L.A. County Coroner’s Office also identified the victim in the crash as Orlando Gomez Sales, a 39-year-old man from Santa Clarita. 

“We arrested the driver (Wednesday) and we did file for charges for a murder today,” Perkins said Thursday in a phone interview. “He had a previous DUI and that’s why it’s murder.” 

Perkins added that Ramirez, who was arrested on suspicion of a number of charges connected to the single-vehicle crash that happened around 3:41 a.m. near Sutters Pointe Plaza in Saugus, was on probation for that charge at the time of the crash. 

He was also charged with being an unlicensed driver and being under 21 while having a blood-alcohol level above .05. 

The legal limit is .08 for anyone above 21, but any amount is illegal for those under 21. 

Medical personnel from the Fire Department worked for about 20 minutes to extricate Ramirez from the crash.  

He was initially taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital for treatment, then booked at the SCV Sheriff’s Station, then transferred to the Inmate Reception Center in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday.  

He’s being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. 

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