Milton Willis, a well-known big wave surfer and avant garde board designer

Milton Willis, one half of the well-known Willis Brothers, famous for their ‘Phaser-bottom’ boards, surf writing and big wave adventures, has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI, the San Diego County District Attorney's Office announced Monday.

The SDCDA announced that a $500,000 arrest warrant has been issued for Milton Willis in connection with an accident on June 6 2008, that killed Bradley Dillahunty of Laguna Niguel.

According to San Diego Suburban Newspapers, Willis, 52, was critically injured in the 1:40 a.m. crash at Coast Boulevard and 20th Street and had to be hospitalized.

Authorities allege Willis, who had borrowed Dillahunty's car, lost control of the Toyota Avalon while driving about 65 mph in a 25-mph zone. The sedan hit a parked car and smashed into a palm tree.

Sheriff's officials said evidence at the scene - including a strong odor of alcohol - suggested that drinking was a "major" causative factor in the wreck.

Just prior to the accident, Dillahunty, who worked as a musician, had been at Jimmy O's, a sports bar-restaurant on West 15th in Del Mar, sheriff's Sgt. Randy Webb said at the time.

Webb declined to say where Willis spent the hours leading up to the accident.

We wish Milton and his family all strength in these difficult times.