San Luis Obispo police on Monday arrested the driver who investigators say struck and killed a couple and their dog on Sacramento Drive back in November.
On the early evening of Monday, Nov. 21, police say Daniel Angel Saligan Patricio, 24, of San Luis Obispo lost control of his vehicle in the 3400 block of Sacramento Drive and struck Matthew Chachere, Jennifer Besser, and their dog. Their bodies were found more than a day later under heavy brush after family members reported them missing.
While police were on scene investigating the crash, they say Patricio either did not know or failed to tell officers that he had struck anyone. A traffic collision report was completed, noting that the car hit a curb, a street sign, and part of a bridge, and the vehicle was towed. Patricio was not suspected of drunk driving and was released.
Police say the force of the collision apparently knocked the couple into a wooded creek area where they could not be seen in the dark.
Investigators believe excessive speed was a factor in the crash.
Police say an arrest warrant was issued for Patricio on Monday morning, more than three months since the crash. Detectives reportedly took him into custody at his place of employment, and he was booked into the San Luis Obispo County Jail with bail set at $200,000.
“SLOPD is committed to the thorough completion of all investigations. We appreciate the patience of the community while we worked towards providing important answers to family members and our community in pursuit of justice,” said San Luis Obispo Police Chief Rick Scott in a press release Monday. “We have been in close communication with the families of the victims throughout this difficult process and hope that they get the justice they seek and the closure they need.”
Patricio reportedly faces two charges of gross vehicular manslaughter for the deaths of Chachere and Besser.
San Luis Obispo Police Captain Brian Amoroso says there were many pieces to their investigation, adding that in a complex investigation like this where two people were killed, having everything completed in three months is fairly quick.
He says the department had to make sure everything was complete and accurate, adding that SLOPD only has one or two officers trained in accident reconstruction.
Capt. Amoroso says since high speeds were involved and the vehicle overturned, it was a very difficult crash to reconstruct.
The department also enlisted help from the California Highway Patrol’s major accident investigation team to extract data from the vehicle and then decipher and analyze the data.
Capt. Amoroso says they were also waiting on pathology reports from the coroner’s officer, which he says they just recently received.
Booking logs show Patricio is due in court March 1.