Suspect In Deadly Ceres Crash Had Poor Driving Record

CERES, Calif. (AP) —  A California man suspected of running his pickup truck into a group of girls, killing one and critically injuring another, has a history of traffic violations, public records show.   Witnesses say 45-year-old Larry Dale Duke drove through a stop sign in Ceres on Wednesday morning and hit the students as they walked to their junior high school.

   Thirteen-year-old Danielle Tarancon-Leon, a seventh-grader at Mae Hensley Junior High School, died at the scene.

   Eighth-grader Nancy Zavala remained in critical but stable condition Thursday after knee surgery, police said.

   Public records show that Duke has a record of traffic violations that include speeding, driving under the influence, driving without insurance and driving with a suspended or revoked license, the Modesto Bee reported.

   Duke has not been arrested in the case. Ceres Police Chief Art de Werk says possible charges could range from vehicular manslaughter to some form of homicide.

   The department will likely send its recommendation for charges to Stanislaus County prosecutors by the end of next week, police said.

   Duke has been hospitalized in Modesto for undisclosed medical issues since Wednesday’s accident, according to Sgt. Dan Vierra, who’s leading the investigation.

   Duke apologized in an interview on local television hours in his hospital room after the crash.

   “I’m so sorry this happened,” he said. “I know it’s harder for you guys to sit there and accept anything I’m saying, but I am so sorry it happened. I didn’t mean for it to happen.

  • JUJU


  • Can I take it over

    “I didn’t mean for it to happen” he girls a girl who had her life before her and all he has to say is that!?… he drives with a suspended or revoked license flaunting the law…he drives drunk or drugged, he speeds, He drives without insurance so the rest of us are at risk for ll we own. And to boot who is overseeing this man’s ability to still be behind a wheel of a huge machine he cannot operate within society’s rules??

    • Mike

      That (____) needs to FRY for what he’s done!!!!!!!!!

  • ann

    i live in the neighbor hood and the cops have told us there is nothing they could do when we called him speeding in the neighbor hood

    • JusticeWarrior

      You should report those cops for telling LIES – they could certaintly have arrested him (or at least tickted him) FOR speeding.

    • Carol

      A phone call about someone speeding doesn’t do anything. The police cannot ticket someone based solely on a phone call. They have to catch the person committing a traffic violation.
      If someone had taken video of him speeding on more than one occassion, they could have used that to at least talk to him and notify him that he’s being watched, but they still could not ticket him.
      Your best bet for future is for people calling the DMV. The DMV can issue letters of warning, and if it continues they can suspend someone’s license. But more than one person needs to file a formal complaint.

  • Carol

    I want to know why the doctor’s did not report his condition to the DMV as required by law.
    A lady I worked with was prescribed medication that she should not have been and she passed out. When she was taken to the hospital, the hospital reported her to the DMV, who suspended her license, even though it was a fluke and a temporary situation.
    Another friend of mine, after quitting smoking, was having dizzy and fainting spells. Turned out since he quite smoking his blood pressure had normalized and therefor the blood pressure meds he was taking were dropping his blood pressure below normal. Even though it was an immediate fix by removing him from the blood pressure medication, he was also turned in to the DMV, as requrie by law, and had his license suspended..
    But this man repeadedly falls asleep whiel driving, has already been in an accident causing severe bodily injury, and the DMV isn’t notified?
    His doctor investigating his condition, should be reported and have his medical license suspended. Perhaps the family of these girls should sue that doctor as well.

  • Kathy

    Everytime he got behind the wheel of that truck it became a killing machine he knew that he was not a good driver.He should be charged with murder for what he did to that little girl and her family,He can say sorry but his word will never be good enough.If they dont charge him he will get behind the wheel of that truck and destroy another family.

  • Kimberly

    I don’t doubt that he’s sorry but the point of the fact is…. he ran a stop sign and because he couldn’t make that one stop, that would have only lasted maybe less than a minute, he changed the lives of a lot of people. Here is where the old ssaying “the past will catch up with you” comes into play. Because he has had so many tickets and charges on his driving record people are not going to see the remorse on his words…

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