A Palm Springs man who was driving a speeding BMW that crashed into another car, killing the defendant’s brother and a woman on Highway 74, was sentenced today to nine years in prison.
Kyle Donald Alexander, 34, pleaded guilty in August to a felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and a sentence-enhancing allegation of causing great bodily injury for the Sept. 1, 2013, crash that killed his 25-year-old brother Jason and Rosalinda Rossi, 58, of Palm Desert.
The crash occurred on Highway 74 roughly a mile from the Vista Point above Palm Desert, according to authorities.
Alexander was driving a rented BMW 328 sedan downhill on Highway 74 at more than 70 mph when he swerved into the opposing lane where the car driven by Rossi’s husband was when he couldn’t handle a turn.
The defendant had switched seats with his brother to “see what the car `could do,”’ according to a probation officer’s report.
The cars collided, and Jason Alexander and Rosalinda Rossi died at the scene, according to coroner’s officials.
The Rossis were on their way to a family barbecue in Oceanside, where they were to be told another grandchild was on the way, Deputy District Attorney Daniel Fox told City News Service.
About 40 of the Rossis’ family and friends attended the sentencing, and several of them spoke about how Rosalinda Rossi “brightened everyone’s life,” Fox said.
“And this guy cut it short,” Fox said.
Kyle Alexander apologized to Rossi’s family and friends and told the judge he deserved the maximum nine-year sentence, Fox said.
According to the report, a California Highway Patrol officer overheard Alexander tell his brother’s girlfriend in the hospital that he was “sorry I killed Jay.
Jay got anxious so we switched spots and I was driving. I don’t remember what happened next.”
The defendant and Rosalinda Rossi’s husband Joseph were also seriously injured in the crash. Alexander told the CHP officer he’d taken Soma, Vicodin and Oxycodone that morning, and had used cocaine about five days earlier. His blood tested positive for marijuana, cocaine and Oxycodone, according to the report.
Fox said the results weren’t strong enough to pursue a driving under the influence charge because there is no illegal intoxication benchmark, like .08 for alcohol. And, it would be unclear if some of the medications were administered before the crash or in the hospital.
Alexander told a probation officer that he felt terrible about the crash, and “Not a minute goes by that I don’t think about her (Mrs. Rossi) and him (Mr. Rossi).”
Fox said Alexander could have received 10 to 12 years in prison if convicted by a jury.