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Turlock man faces three counts of vehicular manslaughter for deaths of friends

POSTED March 12, 2013 8:09 p.m.

The Turlock man who was behind the wheel in a fatal rollover that killed three of his friends waived his right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday, moving him one step closer to trial for the vehicular manslaughter charges against him.

Alexander Swanton, 22, is facing three felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for the 2011 deaths of Dominic Coelho, 23, Duarte Nunes, 39, and Zachary Baker, 21.

Swanton was driving a 2007 Cadillac northbound on Walnut Road, just north of Harding Road around 1 a.m. June 28, 2011.

According to the California Highway Patrol investigation, Swanton was driving at a speed in excess of 80 mph when he made a sudden turn. The Cadillac veered to the east of the roadway and then rolled several times.

Everyone except Swanton, who was wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle during the rollover.

Coelho and Nunes sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene. Baker died about a week later.

Swanton sustained minor injuries in the crash.

A preliminary hearing is held to determine if the prosecution has enough cause to hold a person over on the filed charges. In waiving his preliminary, Swanton gave up that right and the judge issued an automatic finding of cause.

Swanton is scheduled for an arraignment March 26. He remains free on bail.

In addition to the criminal case, Swanton is facing three civil suits from the families of the victims.

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