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Defendant In Deadly Drunk Driving Crash Had History of DUI Convictions

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The drunk driver arrested for causing a crash that killed two women in Natomas earlier this month has a history of DUI convictions.

Ricardo Beltram, 29, stood inside a Sacramento County courtroom Monday facing two charges of felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Court records show Beltram also has two previous misdemeanor DUI convictions in Sacramento County—one in 2016 and one in 2010.

Tamara Bennet is grieving the loss of Raquelle Hudson, one of the women killed in the crash.

"My rockstar, my rockstar. That's the only way I can describe her," Bennet said the day of the deadly crash.

Hudson was a hostess at Bennet's restaurant and a longtime family friend.

"We helped raise Rocky since she was 5-years-old," Bennet said.

Hudson's fried DeJuana Byrd also died in the crash near Northgate Boulevard and the Arden Garden Connector. A third woman in their vehicle survived and is recovering.

"Obviously it's a tragedy all around," Sacramento attorney John Campanella said.

Campanella handles lots of DUI cases and says the two previous DUI convictions against Beltram mean prosecutors could elevate the charge against him now to murder.

"If anyone is ever convicted of a DUI in California, they're given this Watson murder advisement," Campanella said.

In California, the so-called Watson murder rule takes into account a DUI offender's prior convictions and allows prosecutors to seek a second-degree murder charge under the legal theory of "implied malice."

"I think they'll elect to do it," Campanella said.

Beltram's previous DUI convictions were in 2010 and 2016.

Now with Beltram's third arrest on a DUI charge, police say his decision to drink and drive cost two young ladies their lives.

Campanella also said Beltram's second DUI offense may have resulted in his license being suspended for a year, but he would have been driving legally again by now.

Beltram is being held on $2 million bail.

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