Man sentenced to prison after death of Dartmouth man

Mar 28, 2023

A 31-year-old New Bedford man has pleaded guilty to motor vehicle manslaughter following a reported drunk driving crash in 2018 that killed David Dos Santos, 39, of Dartmouth.

Justin Castro was sentenced March 27 in Fall River Superior Court to serve five to seven years in state prison.

Castro was reportedly driving with a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit when he was involved in a Nov. 13, 2018 crash at Kempton Street and Brownell Avenue in New Bedford.  

Witnesses said Castro was traveling east on Kempton Street at a high rate of speed, went through a red light and struck the Toyota Corolla driven by DosSantos, which was traveling south across the intersection from Route 140, according to the district attorney’s office.

It was later determined that the defendant was driving 61 miles per hour in a 35 miles per hour zone at the point of impact, the district attorney’s office said. 

Dos Santos, who was the sole occupant inside the Corolla, was unresponsive and later determined to be deceased, according to information from the district attorney’s office.

Castro was transported to Rhode Island Hospital where blood was drawn for medical reasons by hospital staff.  

The blood alcohol content at the time of the blood draw was .228, nearly three times the legal limit, according to the district attorney’s office. A follow-up investigation determined that Castro had been consuming alcohol at various establishments in the hours prior to the collision.

Dos Santos was apparently driving home from work at the time of the crash. He had worked part-time at Slainte Irish Pub, New Bedford, and full-time at Gilbert’s Jewelers on Pleasant Street in Fall River. 

Two weeks prior to the fatal collision, Dos Santos helped save the life of a shooting victim who showed up at the door of the jewelry store, bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound to the leg.

 “As a result of being highly intoxicated, the defendant killed an innocent man. This case is a tragedy for all people involved. My heart goes out to the victim’s family for their loss, which they will never recover from,” Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn said.