Wrong-way driver charged with murdering 2 local residents

Quartz Hill minister Manard Giles, 77, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Quartz Hill minister Manard Giles, 77, was pronounced dead at the scene.

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County prosecutors today charged a wrong-way driver with two counts of murder and other charges after he slammed his pickup truck into oncoming traffic early Saturday morning.

Burbank resident Bradford Pate, 38, was also charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury and DUI over .08 percent alcohol causing injury in case PA077323.

Pate, who remains hospitalized, is expected to be arraigned sometime Thursday at Los Angeles Superior Court, San Fernando Branch, Department S.

Pate allegedly entered the northbound lanes of the Antelope Valley Freeway heading southbound shortly before 3:30 a.m. Saturday (June 22).

His pickup truck crashed head-on into a Chrysler driven by the Rev. Manard Giles, 77. The Quartz Hill minister was pronounced dead at the scene.

A passenger in his car, Mattie Lee Ferguson, 60, of Lancaster, died later.

A third passenger in the minister’s vehicle, 43-year-old Lennard A. Wilds of Lancaster, was trapped in the car until rescuers could later free him.

Prosecutors will ask that Pate’s bail be set at $3 million, according to Deputy District Attorney Karen Rizzo.

Pate was previously convicted of DUI in 2007 in Ventura County, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

If convicted, Pate faces up to life in prison.

Previously related story: Quartz Hill man killed, Lancaster man critically injured in wrong-way DUI crash