A passenger in a Desert Hot Springs car crash allegedly caused by a drunken driver has died of his injuries at a hospital, county coroners said Tuesday.
Jesus Moreno, 22, of Desert Hot Springs, was hospitalized in critical condition following a Thursday night crash that also injured five others. Moreno was in a minivan driven by 23-year-old Brandon Byars, who has since been charged with drunken driving causing injury.
Moreno died just after 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, according to the county coroner's office. The crash occurred at 8:20 p.m. last Thursday at the intersection of Ironwood and La Mesa drives.
Two passengers in Byars' minivan were hospitalized -- Moreno and a woman with moderate injuries, according to Sgt. Corinn Lindsey. A man and his three children in the other vehicle suffered minor injuries and were checked out at a hospital before being released, Lindsey said.
Byars was taken into custody at the scene. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon to the DUI charge and will return to court Oct. 25 for a felony settlement conference. The criminal complaint includes sentence-enhancing allegations of causing great bodily injury to the victims, including two of the children, a 13-year-old girl and 9-year-old boy whose names were withheld.
Byars was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
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