INDIO- Murder, evading arrest and DUI charges were filed today against an alleged drunken driver whose car crashed into a palm tree in Rancho Mirage as he fled from police, killing his passenger.
Jason Pappas, 37, of Cathedral City, was scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon at the Indio courthouse on the charges stemming from Wednesday’s pre-dawn crash.
In addition to felony murder and evading arrest charges, he faces two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence.
Pappas, who was being held without bail, pleaded guilty in 2007 to misdemeanor DUI, according to court records.
He was also arrested in 2004 on suspicion of driving under the influence but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of being under the influence of a controlled substance, records show.
An officer tried to stop the suspected drunken driver near Date Palm and East Palm Canyon drives at 3:56 a.m. Wednesday, but he headed east into Rancho Mirage at speeds up to 100 mph, said Sgt. Scott Sharpe.
After several minutes, Pappas lost control of the car, which crashed into a curb and then a palm tree at Country Club Drive and Highway 111, Sharpe said.
Gregory Fisher, 56, of Cathedral City, was pronounced dead at Desert Regional Medical Center.