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Man Who Hit, Killed Two Notre Dame Students Last October Pleads Guilty To Drunk Driving

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Justin Hicks / IPBS News
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A driver who hit and killed two Notre Dame students last October has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of driving while intoxicated.

 

According to court records and reports from St. Joseph County's Fatal Accident Crash Team, 26-year-old Justin Cavallo was driving a minivan that struck and killed 19-year-old Notre Dame freshmen Olivia Laura Rojas and Valeria Espinel and seriously injured Notre Dame sophomore Eduardo Jose Elias Calderon in the 54000 block of Ironwood Avenue. The area does not have sidewalks.

 

His Toyota Sienna van then made a sharp left and hit the front of a house. Cavallo remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators. 

 

After the initial crash, the victims remained on the road and one was struck a second time by a different car. That driver has not been charged.

 

Prosecutors charged Cavallo with operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration above 0.08 and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

 

Both charges are class C misdemeanors with a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. An online petition calling for harsher charges has over 20,000 signatures.

 

Cavallo is scheduled to be sentenced in early July and also faces two pending civil lawsuits — one filed by Olivia Laura Rojas’ parents and another by Joshua McGlothlen, the owner of the house Cavallo crashed into.

 

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

 

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Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.