Drunken driver gets 10 years for killing Marine veteran, his dog in Prince William Co.

A drunken driver who hit and killed a Marine Corps veteran and his dog during an evening walk in June 2022 has been sentenced to a decade in prison.

Luis Alfredo Perez, Jr. and his Akita mix were killed on June 18, 2022.

Gentil Mwenze Banze, who pleaded guilty in July to involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence, received the maximum sentence — 10 years in prison — from Prince William County Circuit Court Judge James Willett. After his release from prison, Banze will be under supervised probation for three years, according to court records.

Prosecutors said in the early evening hours witnesses saw a 2016 Ford Focus swerve and almost hit other vehicles, leave the roadway, before jumping the sidewalk and hitting Perez and his dog, who were walking on Old Bridge Road.

After hitting the pair, authorities said Banze crashed into a utility pole, bringing down live power lines and causing an explosion.

An investigator with Prince William County’s Crash Investigation Unit noted Banze smelled of alcohol, swayed as he was standing, and showed signs of impairment in all three field sobriety tests he took.

Later that evening, Banze admitted he had been drinking Guinness beer. Three hours after the crash, testing showed he was still legally drunk.

Banze pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and involuntary manslaughter on July 6, 2023, with the understanding that he faced up to 10 years in prison.

On Nov. 16, Willett gave him the maximum sentence.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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