Slide Court Report

A 24-year-old Redlands man was sentenced to 22 years in prison for a 2017 DUI crash on Highway 99 he caused that killed a woman and her 5-year-old son, and injured her 3-year-old daughter.

A jury in March found Daniel Mejia guilty of two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of vehicular manslaughter and two DUI-related charges in the deaths of Half Moon Bay residents Karla Mendoza, 21, and Axel Rodriguez, 5.

Mejia was driving at a high rate of speed on Nov. 24, 2017, when he crashed into the family's Jeep Cherokee that had pulled to the center median of southbound Highway 99 near Taft Highway due to a flat tire. The impact of the collision pushed the Jeep along the center divider and caused it to catch fire with Mendoza, Axel and 3-year-old Zoe inside, Kern County Deputy District Attorney Michelle Domino said during trial.

Axel died at the scene and Mendoza was pronounced dead at Kern Medical about seven hours later. Zoe was severely injured in the crash but survived along with Juan Rodriguez Garcia, Mendoza's boyfriend and the children's father, who was outside the vehicle about to change the tire.

A test of Mejia's blood alcohol content later came back as 0.251, more than three times the legal limit, Domino said during trial.

•••

A Bakersfield police officer who fell asleep with his service weapon in his lap has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

Court records show Douglas Barrier entered the plea on June 12.

Barrier was found asleep following a Dec. 19 screening of “Frozen II” at Studio Movie Grill with his department issued firearm between his legs, the reports said. Another officer removed the gun from him, the reports said.

After awakening, Barrier was observed to have “watery eyes, an unsteady gait and an alcoholic odor,” according to the report. He was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication, and on Jan. 10, the Kern County District Attorney's Office charged him with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Barrier remains on administrative leave from the BPD since the incident, pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

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