Fatal DUI suspect pleads not guilty, accused of having pills

Thomas was arrested on suspicion of DUI after the fatal wreck.

The 23-year-old Hollister man accused of driving under the influence and killing a 37-year-old local man pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing Tuesday and had his bail increased to $250,000, according to court records.
Those records also showed that authorities in a criminal complaint accused the suspect of unlawfully possessing the prescription drugs Xanax and Lorazepam at the accident scene.
Robert Thomas was arrested and booked Sunday at the San Benito County Jail after he struck and killed a Hollister man, Armando Gonzalez, on Highway 25. He has been charged on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter, DUI causing injuries and possession of a controlled substance, according to records.
Thomas appeared at the San Benito County Courthouse with his attorney, Greg LaForge, for the arraignment Tuesday afternoon. There, he entered a plea. Additionally, Judge Harry Tobias agreed with the recommendation from the California Highway Patrol to increase his bail from $175,000 to $250,000, according to court records.
Thomas is set to appear in court again for a preliminary setting at 2 p.m. July 7.
The accident was reported at 7:05 p.m. Sunday on Highway 25 between San Felipe and Wright roads.
Gonzalez was southbound on Highway 25 on a 2008 Yamaha motorcycle. Thomas was a solo driver northbound on Highway 25 in a 2014 Ford Focus and crossed the double-yellow lines for unknown reasons, said CHP Officer Herb Kellogg.
The unidentified Hollister man on the motorcycle was ejected into a field and died at the scene, Kellogg said.
Officers arrested Thomas on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and a controlled substance, though Kellogg couldn’t comment further on related details. Authorities booked Thomas into the San Benito County Jail after he had been treated with moderate injuries to the head at a Salinas hospital.

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