San Marcos resident, Debbie Sumi, 36, was in a vehicle that crashed into the back of another car that was parked on the shoulder on westbound 78 near Sycamore Avenue in August 2010. Her blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, was reported as .27 and .28 and she was ejected from the car.
Escondido resident, Susana Orozco, 23, and Erica Oliva, 23, of Fallbrook, were standing on the side of the road by the parked car and were killed. The defendant’s fiancé, Larry Alvarez, 34, was partially ejected and also died at the scene.
Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is a felony. According to the California Criminal Jury Instructions, CALCRIM 590, in order for the jury to find a defendant guilty of this charge, the prosecutor must proof beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant drove while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and/or drug;
- While driving that vehicle while under the influence, the defendant also committed a misdemeanor, infraction, or an otherwise lawful act that might cause death;
- The defendant committed that misdemeanor, infraction, or otherwise lawful act with gross negligence; and,
- The defendant’s grossly negligent conduct caused the death of another person.
The defense argued that Alvarez was the driver of the vehicle, not Sumi. The jury did not accept this argument and they convicted her on the three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter. She is facing up to 14 years in prison when she is sentenced on January 8th.
If you’re charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in San Diego, call The Law Offices of Susan L. Hartman, the accessible, aggressive, exclusively DUI defense firm for help. We offer a free, confidential phone consultation, so you can learn about your rights and options with no obligation. Call us at 619-260-1122 or use the “Contact Us” form on this page.