Speeding Driver who Killed Two Gets Prison Time

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

April 26, 2024

SLO couple, Matthew Chachere, 39 and Jennifer Besser, 36, and their dog were struck and killed by a speeding driver in November 2022.

A speeding driver who killed two people in 2022 has been sentenced to State Prison for his crimes.

The District Attorney’s Office announced that Daniel Angel Saliganpatricio, 25, received 5-years and 4-months in prison for the Nov. 21, 2022 deaths of married couple, Matthew Chachere, 39 and Jennifer Besser, 36, when he lost control of his speeding car and hit the pair while walking along Sacramento Drive in San Luis Obispo. Saliganpatricio pled guilty to the charges in February.

It was shortly after 5:30 p.m. that day when Saliganpatricio accelerated his vehicle to over 60 miles per hour on the 25 mph posted roadway of Sacramento Drive. 

Assistant D.A. Eric Dobroth told Estero Bay News that Saliganpatricio had been quarreling with his wife and was distracted as he drove by several text messages she’d sent to him. He tried to take a corner going too fast, lost control and hit the couple on the sidewalk, knocking them down into a heavily wooded creek. He told a responding officer that he might have hit something and officers considered it a single car accident. They didn’t know the two people and their dog were lying in the creek.

According to the D.A.’s Office, the turn was posted as 20 mph and “there was no evidence that he hit the brakes prior to the turn.

The case is a tragic case of distracted driving. “The investigation revealed that Saliganpatricio had been reading text messages immediately before the deadly collision.”

Saliganpatricio was let go by the officer on scene, who was unaware of the two people lying dead or dying in the brush.

Some time later, the couple’s parents in Modesto, where they were due for Thanksgiving but never arrived. SLOPD investigated and connected their disappearance with the car crash the day before, he said.

Also, someone else out walking the area reported a dead dog in the creek. Officers checked the dog’s license and realized the missing couple was involved in the crash the night before, he said. 

SLOPD brought out a police search dog and eventually found the pair in thick brush a short distance away from where the dog was found, he said.

Daniel Saliganpatricio, 25, was sentenced to 5-years 4-months in prison for the November 2022 accident that killed a San Luis Obispo couple.

Police then tracked down Saliganpatricio and arrested him on the involuntary manslaughter charges.

Dobroth noted that Saliganpatricio had never been in trouble before, wasn’t drinking at the time, and called it a terrible accident. 

When Saliganpatricio pled guilty to the charges in February, no deals were stuck beforehand.

“Saliganpatricio pleaded guilty to all the charged counts,” the D.A. said, “without any agreement on what his sentence would be. Because there was no agreement on a sentence, the judge had wide discretion in imposing a sentence, which could have ranged from a period of probation to a maximum term of 7-years and 4-months in prison.”

Superior Court Judge Michael S. Frye imposed the 5-year 4-month sentence “after carefully balancing the aggravated circumstances of the collision with Saliganpatricio’s lack of criminal history and acceptance of responsibility before a trial.”

Some of the victims’ families gave statements to the court. Besser’s mother, Pati Blevins, said, “Jenn was such a bright light, not only in my life, in the lives of everyone she met, everyone she knew. She was funny, intelligent, articulate, beautiful, kind, she was a really good person. 

“When she met Matt, I knew she had found her person. Together, they lived a big, amazing life. They had created a healthy, active lifestyle and were always doing things together. San Luis Obispo offered them so much. 

“It was the perfect area for them so when Matt got a job in the area in Feb 2022, they were excited to begin a new chapter. It wasn’t long before they had found gyms they loved, coffee houses to enjoy, good restaurants, beautiful hiking along the cliffs, dog-friendly beaches for Buddy.”

Chachere’s mother, Linda Chachere, said, “Matt was a resilient man with great humility and a kind, loving heart. He was extremely capable and was an uplifting and inspiring role model and leader.”

She continued, “He cared for his family, friends, team, and coworkers in genuine and significant ways. The loss of his charming smile, huge laugh, boundless sense of humor, and positive attitude will leave a deep and profound void in our hearts and lives.”

The SLO Police Department investigated the case and Deputy D.A. Danielle Baker prosecuted.

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