A jury found a Meridian man guilty of two counts of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, according to Sutter County Deputy District Attorney Diego Heimlich.

Jacob Correia was charged with two counts of felony vehicular manslaughter, which the jury found him not guilty of committing. 

The two counts he was found guilty of were lesser offenses.

“The difference is that misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter requires ordinary negligence, as opposed to gross negligence,” Heimlich said in an email Wednesday.

Heimlich said Correia faces a maximum of one year in the county jail. If he were found guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter he would have been facing up to six years in state prison.

In February 2018, Correia was driving west on Highway 20 while distracted by his cellphone. He collided with the back of a pickup truck and swerved into the eastbound lane and collided with another pickup truck. Jose Velazquez Guerra, 48, and Deysi Reyes, 58, both of Colusa, were killed in the collision.

Correia was initially charged with two counts of murder, along with manslaughter. The murder counts were dismissed by Judge David Ashby at the preliminary hearing in January due to insufficient evidence.

The trial began on Oct. 14 and Heimlich and defense attorney Roberto Marquez presented closing arguments late Tuesday. The jury began deliberating Wednesday morning and returned with its verdict late Wednesday afternoon.

Correia will be sentenced on Nov. 30 at 9 a.m. in Sutter County Superior Court.  

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