|For Immediate Release
Case # 07NF3496
October 16, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
75-YEAR-OLD WOMAN SENTENCED FOR KILLING
89-YEAR-OLD PEDESTRIAN IN CHURCH PARKING LOT BY RUNNING OVER VICTIM AND CRUSHING HER HEAD
SANTA ANA – A 75-year-old woman was sentenced today to 270 days in jail for running over and killing an 89-year-old pedestrian in a church parking lot, crushing the victim’s head. Ana Maria Torres, Fullerton, was found guilty Sept. 24, 2009, by the Honorable David Thompson in a court trial of one felony count of hit and run causing death, one misdemeanor count each of vehicular manslaughter by unlawful act with gross negligence and providing false information to a police officer, and a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury. Over the objection of the People, who advocated for state prison, the court will allow for Torres to apply to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who oversees the jail, to serve her 270 days in home confinement.
At approximately 9:15 a.m. on Aug. 26, 2007, Torres attempted to leave St. Joseph’s Church in Placentia in her white Mercury sedan. As she approached the driveway to exit the church parking lot, Torres failed to look for pedestrians before driving into the street and running over 89-year-old Jessie Pound, who was walking on the sidewalk. The defendant ran over and crushed the victim’s head and body as Pound screamed from under the car. Torres failed to stop, turned onto the street, and accelerated away as she fled the scene. Pound was transported to Placentia-Linda Community Hospital, where she died 30 minutes later after the crushing blunt force trauma to her head and torso resulted in acute brain and lung injuries.
When investigators from the Placentia Police Department interviewed Torres, she falsely told officers that she had attended an earlier mass that day and had walked home. The victim’s DNA was found on the underside of Torres’ car.
During the trial, a male witness testified that he saw Torres run over the victim while he was in the church parking lot. He testified that the left front tire ran over the victim’s head, the left rear tire ran over her body, and he could hear the victim’s skull crush as she screamed. He also stated that as the defendant drove over the victim, her car physically raised and tilted. Torres testified in her defense that she did not hear or feel anything as she exited the parking lot.
Several victim impact statements were presented to the court during the sentencing today, including a statement by the victim’s daughter-in-law, Sheri Long. Long described Pound as a loving woman who always made herself available for her children and her family. Long explained that Torres’ continued refusal to accept responsibility for killing Pound has made it more difficult for their family to heal.
Deputy District Attorney Jason Baez of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.