Grants Pass driver gets prison for fatal crash

A Grants Pass man will spend at least six years in prison after he was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter Wednesday for his role in a December drunken crash that left his friend dead.

Adan Chavez Abundez, 22, also was convicted Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court of driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Police found Abundez's blood-alcohol level was .10 two hours after he crashed his 1995 Kia Sephia into a guardrail on Interstate 5 near Gold Hill. The car then struck the center concrete barrier before veering back across the freeway and ending up 300 feet into a field near milepost 43.

His passenger 24-year-old Juan Figueroa Leon was killed at the scene.

"(Leon) took the brunt of the crash because he was sitting on the side of the car that struck the median," Jackson County Deputy District Attorney Tim Barnack said.

Abundez knew Leon for about a year before the crash. They were returning to Grants Pass from a Medford bar when Abundez's car left the road.

The jury deliberated for about an hour and a half before returning the guilty verdict. One of the 12 jury members voted not guilty.

Barnack said Abundez will be sentenced in the near future. Second-degree manslaughter carries a mandatory prison sentence of six years and three months upon conviction under Oregon law.

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