Santa Rosa, CA – December 24, 2018 – Defendant Logologoa Taumaloto Tevaseu, 36 years old of Santa Rosa, was found guilty on December 21 of all charges and allegations following a three-week jury trial. The charges included second degree murder, gross vehicular homicide while intoxicated, and driving while under the influence causing injury. The jury also found true allegations that Tevaseu injured five people in the crash in addition to the young woman he killed.
District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This tragic case reminds us of the danger of driving under the influence of alcohol. Lives were lost and irreparably damaged due to the defendant’s selfish choice to drive while intoxicated.”
The charges resulted from a fatal crash at around 9:00 p.m. on Lakeville Highway on November 5, 2017. Approximately a mile north of Lakeville’s intersection with Highway 37, while travelling southbound, Tevaseu repeatedly crossed over the double yellow lines to pass cars. While in the northbound lane, Tevaseu drove his full-sized pickup truck head-on into a sedan being driven by Sonoma State student Paulette Quiba. The initial collision caused three other vehicles to crash as well, resulting in additional people suffering injuries. After the crash, Tevaseu was investigated for driving while under the influence. Tevaseu indicated an unwillingness to provide a blood or breath sample as is required by law. However, a warrant was obtained in order for authorities to obtain a blood sample to determine Tevaseu’s blood alcohol concentration. Testing indicated Tevaseu’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of the crash was approximately.22 percent. This was not Tevaseu’s first DUI crash; in 2011 Tevaseu crashed his car in downtown Santa Rosa just after midnight. He was prosecuted for that offense, in which he also had a high blood alcohol concentration.
Paulette Quiba’s family hopes that the attention brought to this case will cause people to make safe decisions about drinking and driving, and they hope this attention can help prevent another tragic death at the hands of a DUI driver.
This case will be back in court on January 7, 2019, for further proceedings regarding Tevaseu’s prior strike conviction. It is anticipated Judge Dana Simonds, who presided over the trial, will set a sentencing date at that time.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Andrew Lukas and Scott Uemura, assisted by District Attorney Investigator Denise Urton. Anthony Keeton of the California Highway Patrol headed the investigation.