On Nov. 23, 2021 a jury found defendant Tyler Underwood guilty of second-degree murder for the DUI-related crash that killed Darren Walker. Underwood was also found guilty of three other felonies: child abuse, driving under the influence causing injury with priors, and driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or over causing injury with priors.
On October 9, 2018, around 11:00 pm, Underwood was driving on I-680 southbound, north of Scott Creek Road in Fremont. He had been drinking and he and friends were headed to Milpitas to get food. The Defendant was racing another friend’s vehicle on I-680 on the way to the restaurant. While racing at 140 mph, Underwood lost control of the BMW vehicle, crashing down an embankment. Mr. Walker, a passenger in the defendant’s vehicle, was ejected during the crash; Underwood’s four year-old daughter was also a passenger, as was another female adult. After the crash, Underwood begged a male passenger of the other vehicle to take the blame and say he was the driver. The male adult agreed and was initially arrested for the DUI crash.
No one on scene mentioned to authorities that Mr. Walker was missing from the vehicle after the crash. Mr. Walker’s body was not found until the next day Oct. 10, 2018, after his mother contacted CHP looking for her son. CHP found Mr. Walker’s body at the scene of the crash, nearly 60 feet from the crash site, surrounded by tall grass. Following the discovery of Mr. Walker’s body, everyone involved came forward and told the police the true story, except the defendant.
Underwood initially claimed he was only a passenger in the BMW. 21 days later, Underwood finally admitted to authorities that he was in fact, the driver, but claimed to have only had one beer that night.
His blood alcohol level was found to be 0.158%, 90 minutes after the crash — nearly twice the legal limit.
Underwood was also found guilty of misdemeanor driving when privilege suspended for prior DUI and misdemeanor unlawful vehicle operation, an infraction speeding greater than 100 mph, and an infraction for driving with blood alcohol .01% or above while on probation. The jury found true the special allegations of: reckless driving and speeding, bodily injury to more than one victim, and having a passenger under 14.
Underwood had a history of DUI convictions, including five DUI-related charges in the 10 years before October 2018, including one just 44 days before the crash.
The case was prosecuted by DDA Abigail Mulvihill, with assistance from the Victim Witness Advocate Jenifer Mello and Inspector James Morris.
Underwood faces a minimum of 15 years to life in prison and is expected to be sentenced on February 8, 2021