On July 12, 2012, Dominic Durden, a 30-year-old Riverside County, California sheriff’s dispatcher was on his way to work, when Juan Zacarias Lopez Tzun, 24, made an illegal left-hand turn in his pickup on Pigeon Pass Road, striking Durden’s motorcycle. Durden’s injuries were massive and he died at the scene.
Tzun was charged with vehicular manslaughter and for driving without a license. Despite the fact that Tzun killed an innocent young man, he was booked into the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside, on only $7,500 bail.
On April 3, 2013, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Raphael A. Arreola sentenced Tzun to 90 days in jail and to 180 days in a work-release program. Tzun had already spent 56 days in jail, and only served an additional 30 days, before being released on May 2, after which, he was eventually deported.
Tzun had an extensive criminal history in California, but due to that state's 'sanctuary' policy, he was never reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials for possible deportation. And, Dominic paid the ultimate price for California's 'criminal protection plan.'
I recently spoke with Dominic's mom, Sabine Durden-Coulter on the upcoming anniversary of his death. What follows are her words and emotions on the heartbreaking loss of her son, as well as her best friend...
On July 12, 2012 at 5:45 am, my world and my life came to a screeching halt. My heart and soul shattered into millions of pieces and life as I knew it, was over.
My only child, my son, the love of my life, the best friend anyone could ask for, took his last breath. Not because of anything I did, not because of anything he did. Not because he was careless on his motorcycle, and not because he caused this.
He was killed by a repeat-offender, criminal alien. Someone that wasn’t even supposed to be here. Someone who didn’t care about breaking our laws and never showed any remorse after taking the life of a very productive, community oriented, generous and kind young man named Dominic Durden.
In fact, he was on his way to work to save lives and assist local law enforcement, working at the Riverside Sheriff’s 911 Dispatch Center, when he was killed.
His death was 100 percent preventable.
This did NOT have to happen. But it DID happen because so many Judges, district attorneys and others in charge who this illegal came across during his many years of committing crimes, did basically NOTHING, and allowed him to continue his lawlessness without suffering any consequences. My son's life ended senselessly and tragically, my family was destroyed and he left a huge void not only in my life, but also in the lives of so many who knew and loved him. He is deeply missed and still talked about, his legacy continues and he will never be forgotten.
Sabine Durden has established a scholarship in Dominic’s name to assist students enrolled in Emergency Medical Technician programs at Moreno Valley College.