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February 28, 2024

Charges still pending for suspected DUI crash into home from 2018

More than 11 months after a Hollister man suspected of drunk driving crashed a vehicle into a Hamilton Drive home, he still hasn’t been charged with a related crime. 

It appears the case is delayed because the Hollister Police Department, as of today, had not returned results of a follow-up investigation requested by District Attorney Candice Hooper’s office. 

This is the result of the December 2018 crash. Story continues below.

Hollister police on Dec. 10 of last year arrested Joel B. Ledesma, now age 39, after the driver crashed into a house at 1293 Hamilton Drive while suspected to be intoxicated. That happened while he had been on probation for a 2016 driving under the influence case, according to court records obtained by San Benito Live. 

Hollister police arrested Ledesma again this past Saturday morning on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance, according to crime blotter records. The D.A.’s office had yet to receive a police report on the latest matter as of Wednesday. 

The district attorney today responded to questions about lacking charges for the December 2018 incident. Hooper in an email noted how after that arrest, her office sent the case back to the Hollister Police Department for further investigation. 

A Hollister police spokesman, Sgt. Don Pershall, said the department had yet to return results of that investigation to the D.A. and that it was still classified as “under investigation.” 

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The statute of limitations to file charges for suspected misdemeanor crimes is one year and it’s three years for felonies, Hooper confirmed. Hollister police after the arrest recommended charges of felony drunk driving and drug charges. 

Prosecutors will customarily file charges promptly for serious cases, oftentimes within days of suspected crimes.

Pershall said the delay doesn’t indicate prospects for dropping the case and he expects police will return it to the D.A. 

“We should be getting something back for sure,” he said. 

As for Ledesma’s criminal history in San Benito County, in October 2017 he pleaded no contest to DUI and carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle connected to an October 2016 arrest. He was sentenced to 20 days in county jail and a fine of $2,552 with the plea, according to court records. He was also sentenced to three years of probation.

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According to a statement released by Hollister police in December 2018 regarding the crash:

At 6:24 p.m. Dec. 10, officers were dispatched to 1293 Hamilton Drive after receiving a report that a vehicle had crashed into a residence.

When officers arrived they found a vehicle struck the residence. The speeding vehicle went through a wall on the west side of the house, and the front end of the vehicle came to rest in one of the home’s bedrooms. A witness who resides in the house described the impact as an explosion. No one in the house was injured as a result of the crash.

Ledesma was found a short distance from the residence with a leg injury, police reported at the time. There was one passenger in the vehicle at the time of the collision who was flown to a trauma center for treatment.

As officers were interviewing Ledesma, they noted he was showing signs of intoxication. Field sobriety tests revealed a high level of intoxication, while drugs were also located inside the vehicle, police alleged. Ledesma was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for injuries during the collision.

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