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Former Burroughs High coach once imprisoned for sex with a student allegedly kills woman in DUI collision

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Alexa Castillo, a Glendale resident and La Cañada High alumna, was killed in a vehicle collision on Sunday in Yucca Valley after she was struck in a motel parking lot by a car driven by a man allegedly under the influence of alcohol.
(La Cañada High School yearbook)

A former high school coach who was sentenced to prison in 2016 for being in a sexual relationship with a student is now accused of murdering a Glendale woman after allegedly hitting her with a car.

The San Bernardino County district attorney’s office charged Jose Banuelos, 31, with one count each of murder and driving under the influence after he allegedly struck and killed 30-year-old Alexa Castillo early Sunday outside a motel in Yucca Valley.

According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Castillo was found severely injured and lying in the parking lot of the motel in the 56300 block of Twentynine Palms Highway sometime after 3 a.m. She was transported to a nearby hospital where she later died from her injuries.

In the criminal complaint filed against Banuelos, the district attorney’s office added a special allegation that Banuelos drove under the influence despite being previously convicted in 2012 for driving with a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit. Authorities also said the collision resulted in great bodily injury being inflicted upon Castillo.

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A dedication page in a La Cañada High School yearbook for Alexa Castillo.
(La Cañada High School yearbook)

Banuelos had previously served a two-year prison sentence after it was discovered in 2016 he was having an ongoing sexual relationship with a student at John Burroughs High School in Burbank. The relationship began when the girl was 15 and Banuelos was working at the school as an assistant coach for the boys’ baseball team.

Banuelos is currently being held in lieu of $1,150,000 bail.

A GoFundMe campaign was started for Castillo, a La Cañada High School alumna, which will be used toward paying for medical expenses from the collision and her funeral.

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As of mid-Wednesday afternoon the campaign had raised $12,451 of its $15,000 goal.

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