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Defendant in SLO vehicular manslaughter case to be released from custody

Daniel Saligan Patricio.jpg
Posted at 12:50 PM, Mar 01, 2023

The man charged with gross vehicular manslaughter for the deaths of a San Luis Obispo couple last year made his first court appearance Wednesday but did not enter a plea.

A judge granted Daniel Saligan Patricio's request to be released from custody; however, he will have to wear an ankle monitor and surrender his driver's license.

Saligan Patricio is accused of hitting and killing Matthew Chachere and Jennifer Besser as they were walking their dog on the early evening of Monday, Nov. 21, 2022.

Both Matthew Chachere and Jennifer Besser worked at E and J Gallo Winery. Chachere was also a Cal Poly alum and former football player.
Both Matthew Chachere and Jennifer Besser worked at E and J Gallo Winery. Chachere was also a Cal Poly alum and former football player.

San Luis Obispo police said Saligan Patricio was speeding along Sacramento Drive when he crashed, hitting the couple, a curb, a street sign, and part of a bridge.

Investigators said that while police were on scene investigating the crash, Saligan Patricio either did not know or failed to tell officers that he had struck anyone.

The bodies of Chachere, Besser and their dog were found more than a day later under heavy brush after family members reported them missing.

"What a tragic case that our office takes very seriously, and so our advocacy will include them at the very forefront and their family to make sure that they're remembered and that we do everything we can to have justice for Jennifer and Matthew," said San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow.

The prosecution alleged in court Wednesday that Saligan Patricio was speeding and looking at text messages at the time of the crash.

He was arrested on Monday, Feb. 27, and had been held at the San Luis Obispo County Jail on $200,000 bail.

Defense attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu is representing Saligan Patricio. He argued that Saligan Patricio could not afford the bail amount.

"My client is young, he has no prior record, he's been fully employed for the last three years. He's, his wife — also fully employed. An interesting fact, I think the court considered is that the fact he’s been driving and conducting himself safely and responsibly since November 21st, which is the date of this incident," Funke-Bilu said.

Dow said the county's probation department will supervise Saligan Patricio's release at least until he returns to court for arraignment. His next court date is March 22.

The defendants' wife and parents were also present in court but declined an on-camera interview.

During the morning session of the court hearing, proceedings were put on hold when the prosecutor suddenly collapsed. Everyone was ushered out of the courtroom and the hearing was postponed until the afternoon. The prosecutor is reportedly now doing well.