MARTINEZ — A Sacramento man who had 13 alcoholic drinks in his system when he swerved and crashed into a family on Interstate 80, killing four, was convicted of murder and drunken driving Monday.
Fred Lowe, 48, now faces more than 125 years in prison. He was convicted of murdering two fathers and their sons: Daryl Horn, 50, Joe Horn, 14 of Napa and Troy Biddle, 52, and his son, Baden Biddle, 13, both of Bainbridge Island, Washington, in a November 2017 car crash in San Pablo.
Jurors deliberated for about a day and a half before convicting Lowe, who has a prior strike for a robbery conviction in 1991. Lowe also has five drunken driving convictions and served jail time for driving under the influence offenses in 2011 and 2012.
Under California law, DUI offenders who cause fatal crashes can be charged with murder if it is proven they knew a fatality was the “natural and probable” consequence of driving drunk.
The day of the crash, the victims, who were all related, were leaving an annual father-son basketball tournament. They were in an SUV, heading east on I-80 toward Napa.
Witnesses testified Lowe’s car, a blue Mercedes Benz, was having a hard time staying in its lane. It abruptly swerved several lanes over, pinning the SUV into the center divider. The SUV flipped over the short wall into the westbound side, where it landed upside-down and was struck by oncoming traffic.
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The four victims were killed, and several others were badly injured. The SUV’s lone survivor was the driver, Jared Horn, Daryl’s son and Joe’s brother. Jared Horn is a junior at UC Berkeley and pitches for the Cal Bears.
Jared Horn told police he heard his father say “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” and saw headlights of the Mercedes on the passenger side of the car. He felt the impact a moment later.
Prosecutors say Lowe drove from the crash site and was arrested a short distance away, off of San Pablo Dam Road.
Lowe’s defense during trial was that prosecutors could not definitively prove he was driving the Mercedes. His attorney also attacked the prosecution’s legal theory behind the murder.
The Horns were mourned by hundreds of people in December 2017 at a memorial that filled the gym at Vintage High School. Daryl was a longtime youth coach in Napa who worked with Napa Little League and the Napa Valley Baseball Club as well as Napa Parks and Recreation youth basketball.
Joe Horn was on the Redwood Middle School honor roll with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average and played youth football for the Napa Saints.
Troy Biddle was Daryl Horn’s brother-in-law.
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