University of Oregon student Pedro Chavarin Jr. was charged with manslaughter Tuesday in connection with the June 15 car crash that killed former Oregon Ducks player Fotu Tuli Leiato.
According to the Eugene Register-Guard, the 22-year-old Chavarin was arrested at 4 p.m. Tuesday. He is an undergraduate at Oregon, with a major in general social science.
Prosecutors charged Chavrin with second-degree manslaughter, DUI and reckless driving. If convicted of second-degree manslaughter, he would be sentenced to six years and three months in prison.
Chavarin's bail was initially set at $250,000, but Lane County Circuit Judge Charles Zennaché agreed to lower his bail to $100,000 during a hearing on Friday, reports the Register-Guard.
Police say Chavarin was driving under the influence when the crash happened at around 2:30 a.m. on June 15 in Eugene. He rolled over his Kia sedan on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
After the crash, Chavarin told police there was no one else in the vehicle with him. He was then rushed to a nearby hospital in Springfield. However, several hours later, a person saw a hand in the bushes near the scene of the crash. Police then found the body of Leiato, who police believe was Chavarin's passenger.
During Friday's hearing, Chavarin's attorney, Laura Fine, said he was best friends with Leiato. She said Chavarin was close to graduation and had no prior criminal record. Chavarin would live with his parents in Compton, California if he posts bail, Fine said, but the judge was apprehensive about this. If he is released, he would be barred from driving and will have to wear a bracelet that detects alcohol use.
Leiato was from Steilacoom, Washington and joined the Ducks in 2015. He played in 38 games for the Ducks during the past three seasons, finishing with 37 tackles. He made one start, appearing in the 2017 season opener against Southern Utah. He played at safety, linebacker and special teams.
The 21-year-old Leiato was taken off the team in April after he was arrested for theft and criminal mischief, reports the Oregonian. Campus police accused him of removing a parking boot from his car.
"We are saddened to learn of the passing of Fotu, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. He will be remembered and missed by all who knew him," Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens and head football coach Mario Cristobal said in a statement on June 16.
"A brother gone to soon. It was a pleasure playing with a warrior like you. Rest easy Fotu Leiato," former Ducks player and current Toronto Argonauts quarterback Dakota Prokop added on Twitter.