Man who allegedly struck and killed SLO couple pleads not guilty

March 23, 2023

Jennifer Besser and Matthew Chachere


The man who allegedly struck and killed a San Luis Obispo couple, as well as their dog, while speeding on Sacramento Drive last fall pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter charges on Wednesday. [Tribune] 

On the evening of Nov. 21, 2022, officers responded to a report that a car struck a curb, a street sign and the abutment of a bridge. Officers, who did not suspect the driver of alcohol impairment, had the car towed and wrote out a traffic collision report.

A day later, on the evening of Nov. 22, a caller reported a dead dog in a creek bed off the 3400 block of Sacramento Drive. The dog was transported to animal control.

Five hours later, relatives of Matthew Chachere, 39, and Jennifer Besser, 36, reported the couple had not arrived at their expected destination in Modesto. Relatives provided police with photos of the couple as well as a picture of their dog.

After viewing the photo of the missing dog, a police dispatcher was able to make the connection between the earlier report of the deceased dog with the dog owned by the missing residents.

Police returned to the heavily wooded creek bed and conducted another search. Officers then discovered the deceased bodies of Chachere and Besser, which were lying in heavy brush.

On Feb. 27, San Luis Obispo police officers arrested Patricio and booked him in SLO County jail with his bail set at $200,000. Prosecutors charged Patricio with two counts of felony vehicular manslaughter. 

Two days following his arrest, a judge granted Patricio’s request to be released from custody.

During a hearing on Wednesday, the prosecution said Patricio was driving 60 mph on a street with a 25 mph limit, and he was on his phone moments before the crash and was known to be drinking earlier in the day.

Relatives of the victims also spoke during the hearing. One relative, Patricia Blevins, asked the court to increase Patricio’s bail because he deserves to suffer.

Judge Craig van Rooyen said bail is set based on whether the defendant is a flight risk or poses a risk to public safety. The court cannot take punishment into consideration, and it is unconstitutional to set an unaffordable bail. 

Patricio poses the lowest possible risk for reoffending and for failure to appear in court, based on a probation report, van Rooyen said.

Ilan Funke-Bilu, Patricio’s attorney, said his client has continued to live and work locally, and he has attended five Alcoholics Anonymous meetings since his release from custody.

Van Rooyen ruled Patricio will remain out of jail and will continue to wear an ankle monitor until his trial. Patricio has surrendered his driver’s license, and he must not drink alcohol or go to establishments that sell alcohol. 

Patricio is due back in court on April 20.

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Not sure why but I have an uneasy feeling about this. Patricio’s extreme disregard and irresponsibility seem to be fading away into the background as if by some legalese sleight of hand performed by other players involved in the case.

Sort of strange the focus of his staying out of jail is based on not having anything to do with alcohol yet he was not tested for alcohol at the scene.

Officers, who did not suspect the driver of alcohol impairment…” It helps to read the article before commenting. Accidents happen to sober people everyday. Direct your blame elsewhere.

The loss of vehicle control by this Patricio dude with 4 names and the resultant death of 2 beautiful innocent people, Jennifer Besser & Mathew Chachere, along with their dog was not an “accident”. Can we use words properly? What exactly was unexpected, unanticipated, unforeseen and accidental about losing control of his car while driving on city streets at 60 mph in a residential zone where the speed limit is 25 mph?

You are absolutely right ” Unusual Sucspect”, accidents do happen to sober people every day.

But you can’t sit here and argue the fact that Patricio did know that during the intense moments of him out of control on a residential street at 60 MPH that he hit that couple walking their dog. Then absolutely kept that information from SLO Police Dept’s investigation. The fact that he was not honest at the time of what you are calling an “accident”, tells me he trying to hide something!!!! He was hiding being impaired.

And if SLO P.D. knew at the time anyone was injured or died due to his reckless endangerment, none of us would be speculating on his sobriety at the time of the accident because the would have tested Patricio.

No matter what we want to speculate on pertaining to this incident, the bottom line is that San Luis Obispo Police Department failed completely.

Impairment tests should have been conducted weather they suspected him to be impaired or not to rule that cause out 100% without any doubt.


Please refrain from comment signatures (-SLOCAL ONE), we don’t do that here.