LANCASTER – A suspected drunk driver involved in an early morning crash Sunday that killed two Walmart employees is facing eight felony counts, including two counts of second degree murder, according to court records.
Tommie Lee Cole, 24, appeared briefly in an Antelope Valley courtroom Tuesday before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Steven Ogden and was represented by private counsel J. Nigel Villanueva.
Cole did not enter a plea Tuesday. His case was continued to March 29, 2012 for arraignment and plea. Bail was increased from $100,000 to $2 million.
Cole, who was arrested for felony DUI Sunday, has now been charged with two counts of murder in the second degree, two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, two counts of driving under the influence and causing injury, and two counts of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or greater and causing injury, according to court records.
“I’m glad because this may prevent him from doing this to somebody else,” said Linda Gilstrap. “I wouldn’t want anybody else to go through this.”
Gilstrap’s son, Jeffrey Gilstrap and his coworker Beau Josh Owen Fluker were killed Sunday when the vehicle they were riding in collided with Cole’s vehicle at the intersection on 20th Street West and Avenue J in Lancaster.
Cole was determined to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, according to authorities.
Sympathy from the community has poured in for Jeffrey Gilstrap and Fluker, who were associates at Walmart traveling home after a late night shift at the time of the crash (read more here).
Linda Gilstrap, along with several family members of both men, attended the court hearing Tuesday.
Gilstrap said it has been extremely difficult for her to come to terms with the loss of her son.
“It hasn’t really sunk it to me yet, I think I’m still numb because I just keep going from moment to moment,” she said. “But the way I feel right now is I’m just glad he’s [Cole] not going to be on the road… and if he was partying with his friends, maybe this will sober them up too.”
13 comments for "Man charged with murder in fatal DUI crash, bail set at $2 million"
jacqueline Burton says
Im very sorry for all the parents who have lost a member in the crash . we as godly people must stop pointing fingers. remember the true saying no man can judge me that’s not to say that Im picking sides so i hope i have not offended anyone in anyway but if god can for give what gives us the right to harbor ill filling . your just creating a silent cancer that only attacks your soul. so god be with everyone who reads this.
my prayers are with the families for their lost. How come the
female for LAFD was not charged the same and bail the same?
Both men will be missed from their families, friends and community. They touched alot of people in the too short of time that they were here.
Mario M says
I shop at walmart often and had the chance to meet Beau more then a few times. Such a woundeful peacefull spirit he had always willing to help and having a smile constenly. I was driving by ave J when my wife and I saw some candels at the corner and noticed some pictures on the pole…as i saw his picture there my heart sank…I pray for Beau and Jeff’s family that they would have the steanght and that in there hearts would be able to forgive this young man. I pray for Tommy, unfurtunate he made a bad choice that took the life of two young man but now he will have to deal with the painfull regreat that choice has caused. I pray for all the families involved and ask the Lord that He would heal every heart.
Caitlin Thompson says
My heart goes out to the families of the young men that lost their lives because of someone else’s stupid choices. I remember one time we went to Walmart on valley central way and we were returning a tv, and the only person that would help us was Beau. He truly cared about people… He will always be remembered. I also remember seeing Jeffery a couple times. My condolences.
I was at walgreens picking up my prescription at the time and the sight of them laying there on the ground will stay in my heart forever my heart and prayers go out to their families
My condolences to the families that lost their luved one. I personally knew tommy n feel torn apart on what happend. I can say tommy was battling alcohlism for awhile now n its such a shame what has occured. I feel as i lost a good friend as well.
pamela richard says
I knew both of these men and to go to work and walk by the place where they work is so sad. To their familes I pray that you will found peace in knowling that Beau & Jeff are with God.
Sad just sad.
As a parent I worry about getting one of those middle of the night calls. This story does not help my worry at all with my kid is sometimes coming home from work at the time of night this happened.
Cathy Chenoweth says
Beau was a favorite face at Battlegrounds. Very sweet, honest and sincere, he always had a kind word for everyone. And Jeffrey, just getting on his feet and working hard. He too added to the family here at the game store.
Both smiling faces will be sorely missed. Our prayers go out to their families and friends alike. Such a sad ending to such promising futures…
Ive been griefing the last few days like so many. I clocked at 11pm sunday n said gu by to beau. Neither of us knowing it was forever. Three hours later he n jeff was taken frm us. All of this is hard to cope with two outstanding men taken so tragically. My love. Thoughts n prayers go out to their famalies. R.i.p beau n jeff we love you.
Zachariah Wright says
Rest in Peace, Jeff, you were a good man.
Sunshine Blu Skies says
May God’s strength and love help carry you and your families through this sad time. I am truly sorry for your losses and wish all of you the best.