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Convicted DUI Offender to Stand Trial for Temecula Crash Death

Joseph Triplett III, 30, could face 15 years to life in prison if convicted in the June 24, 2012, death of Temecula golfer Jason Duane Hart.

A convicted drunken driver accused of plowing through a red light in a sports car and slamming into a vehicle driven by a 27-year-old Temecula golfer, who was killed, must stand trial for second-degree murder, a judge ruled today.

Joseph Triplett III, 30, could face 15 years to life in prison if convicted in

Following a preliminary hearing at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michael Rushton ruled there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial for Triplett on the murder count, as well as gross vehicular manslaughter with a great bodily injury allegation.

Triplett remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center.

According to sheriff's investigators, the fatal crash occurred around 5:30 a.m. after Triplett allegedly ran a red light at Rancho California and Moraga roads.

The defendant had a blood alcohol level of .35 percent -- more than four times the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle in California -- prosecutors allege.

Hart was apparently on his way to work, headed north on Moraga, when Triplett shot through the intersection eastbound at around 60 mph in his Ford Mustang, T-boning the victim's Subaru Impreza, investigators said.

A sheriff's deputy who helped Triplett out of his vehicle said he could smell alcohol on the defendant's breath.

Triplett and Hart were rushed to Inland Valley Regional Medical Center in Wildomar. Hart died a short time later. Triplett was treated for minor injuries. He told a nurse that he had consumed several mixed drinks before getting behind the wheel that morning, investigators allege.

Hart was a semi-pro golfer who had recently married and just begun work as the operations manager for Cross Creek Golf Club in Temecula.

According to court records, Triplett was convicted in 2008 of misdemeanor DUI and was sentenced to probation. He had also been convicted in 2003 of receiving stolen property, records showed.

Under California law, a DUI offender who has received warnings against drinking and driving and the potential for deadly consequences can be charged with murder.

—City News Service

On the right side March 16, 2013 at 02:59 AM
Should HANG THE SOB on Front St. Fifteen years for MURDER and be lucky if he serves seven. He sure learned at lot from his previous encounter with our GREAT JUDICIAL SYSTEM. What the hell is wrong with our DA's?
john blackwood March 16, 2013 at 03:26 PM
I think all cars that exceed 20mph should be banned . Golf carts should be made street legal . Alcahol should be a class 1felony to either posssess or consume along with marajuana . Why they the government is at it ban all golf clubs and baseball bats too .I mean I would feel safer knowing that along with guns being banned the United States would be a much safer place to live .
Christine Byrne March 16, 2013 at 07:16 PM
I hope that last comment is a joke.
LBV Collins March 16, 2013 at 10:08 PM
"Under California law, a DUI offender who has received warnings against drinking and driving and the potential for deadly consequences can be charged with murder." I like this law.
SA March 18, 2013 at 04:51 PM
I as well hope you are kidding, otherwise stop taking the blue pill.

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