A 37-year-old Santa Ana man was arrested on suspicion of driving drunk on May 16 after he crashed into a family as they walked down a sidewalk in Irvine. The Orange County District Attorney's Office later tacked on a murder charge after the mother, who'd been walking alongside her husband and kids, died from the injuries she suffered in the crash.
The crash that claimed the woman's life happened nearby the intersection of Turtle Rock and Ridgeline Drives just before 8 p.m., on Wednesday, May 16.
Witnesses to the crash reported seeing the defendant operating his sports utility vehicle (SUV) near the intersection in the moments before the fatal crash occurred. Soon thereafter, they reported seeing him swerve off the road and jump the sidewalk, striking the family as they walked along it.
They also reported that the man continued driving, crossing into an embankment, after striking the mother. Witnesses note that his vehicle only ultimately came to a stop because he struck a tree.
Emergency crews that responded to the crash scene found the mother in critical condition. She was transported to an area hospital, but died soon after her arrival there.
As for her husband, he ended up becoming trapped under the SUV when he was struck. Upon their arrival on the crash scene, emergency responders worked quickly to free him from the wreckage. He was then placed in a helicopter and taken to the hospital. He was later determined to have suffered various internal injuries including a ruptured spleen.
The couple's 15-year-old daughter reportedly was seen with a bloody face. She required several stitches as a result. Her 18-year-old brother apparently went into shock after the crash. He also suffered a broken nose.
Prosecutors note that the defendant has been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) twice before, once in 2001 and again in 2002. They note that his blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the crash was at least .22 percent, twice California's legal limit. He faces as little as 22 years up to life in prison for what he allegedly did.
When a family member dies, he or she often leaves behind loved ones that have to cope both emotionally and financially with their loss. If you've lost a loved one in such an incident, then an Irvine attorney can advise you of your rights to file a lawsuit in your legal matter.
Source: KTLA 5, "Suspected DUI driver charged with murder after Irvine crash; mother killed ID’d," Marissa Wenzke, May 18, 2018