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San Jose man convicted in deadly DUI collision

Gary Westover, 40, was convicted of murder in connection with a 2009 drunk driving crash that killed a 6-year-old boy.
Gary Westover, 40, was convicted of murder in connection with a 2009 drunk driving crash that killed a 6-year-old boy.File photo.

A San Jose man was convicted Thursday for killing a 6-year-old boy in a drunken crash three years ago.

Gary Westover, 40, was found guilty of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. He faces 22 years to life in prison when he is sentenced later this year.

According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, it was Westover’s fourth drunken driving collision.

“Time and time and time again, this man was given powerful and personal lessons in the dangers of drinking and driving,” prosecutor Angela Bernhard said. “Time and time and time again, he stubbornly ignored those lessons. This time, Isaac Young had to pay with his life.”

The deadly crash occurred on February 3, 2009 when the Young family was in their minivan on the way home from church services at World Apostolic Cathedral where Isaac’s mother was a pastor.

Westover was behind the wheel of his large pickup truck when he sped through a red light and crashed into the Young’s minivan, flipping it on its side. Issac Young, who was strapped in a booster seat, was killed on impact. His mother was critically injured and his father and 8-year-old brother were also hurt, prosecutors say.

It wasn’t Westover’s first DUI-related crash. In 1990, he crashed into a parked car head-on. In 1997, he crashed his speeding car into a woman waiting at a red light. And in 1999, he rear-ended a car in Livermore driven by a mother who had been on her way to pick up her children at day care. In that case, officers found an open can of beer that had been disguised as a Pepsi. Westover completed mandatory DUI educational classes following the last two crashes.

The district attorney’s office first prosecuted Westover for killing Young in 2010, but the jury couldn’t agree on a murder charge. Prosecutors decided to re-try the murder case, which resulted in this week’s conviction.

Sentencing has not yet been scheduled. Westover is set to return to court on June 29.

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