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Murder charges have been filed against a driver who crashed head on into another vehicle, killing two, including a church pastor, while under the influence of alcohol early Saturday morning in Lancaster.

According to accident reports from the California Highway Patrol, 38 year old Bradford Pate, a resident of Burbank, entered the northbound lanes of the 14 Freeway, driving in the wrong direction, just after 3:30 a.m. when his Toyota Tundra pickup truck crashed directly into a Chrysler 300 sedan near Escondido Canyon Road, inflicting major damages to the vehicle and all three occupants inside.

The Chrysler’s driver, 77 year old Dr. Manard Giles, pastor of The Answer Community Church of God in Christ in Lancaster, was pronounced dead at the scene by responding police and paramedics. A passenger, 60 year old Mattie Lee Ferguson, was airlifted to a nearby hospital in critical condition, where she later died as a well. A third passenger, who has not yet been identified, was also seriously injured, though expected to survive.

At the time of the accident, the church pastor and his two passengers were reportedly on their way home from a church function in San Diego.

Pate was sent to an area hospital following the accident as well, where he remains as of Tuesday morning. Alongside his two murder charges, he is also facing charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence. If convicted, he will face up to life in prison, though a court date has not yet been set, as he has not yet been released from the hospital.

This is not the first drunk driving incident for Pate, who was also convicted or a DUI in Ventura County in 2007. The accident was also not the only fatal wrong way collision on the 14 Freeway during the week, as another head on collision killed one driver in identical circumstances last Monday.

If you or someone you know has been injured or worse as a result of a driver under the influence of alcohol, you should seek help. With the help of a Los Angeles car accident attorney, compensation can be received from those at fault to help pay for the damages that you’ve incurred.

At AA Accident Attorneys, we can help get you the full amount that you are rightfully owed, and start you onto the road to recovery. We can carefully explain your legal options, and guide you through the complicated legal process. As always, we will charge you nothing for our services until your case is won. Call us today for a free evaluation and to learn what our team of experienced legal professionals can do for you!

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