|For Immediate Release
Case # 05CF2791
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
CHRONIC DRUNK DRIVER SENTENCED TO 15 TO
LIFE FOR MURDERING MAN BY CRASHING INTO
HIM WHILE SPEEDING ON LOCAL ROADS
SANTA ANA – A drunk driver with two prior DUI convictions was sentenced today to 15 years to life in prison for murdering another driver after crashing into the victim’s car at 70 miles per hour while under the influence of alcohol. Kenneth Lawrence Perez, 26, Santa Ana, was found guilty on Jan. 28, 2008, of murder and gross vehicular manslaughter with two prior convictions for driving under the influence in 2001 and 2004.
On Aug. 29, 2005, Perez got into his green truck after drinking multiple beers and driving at speeds of almost 100 miles per hour on the 91 Freeway. The defendant had a blood alcohol level of .19 percent. Several drivers on the freeway called 9-1-1 to report the defendant’s dangerous driving, which included speeding, swerving around other cars, using the shoulder lane to pass other vehicles, and weaving through traffic.
After exiting the freeway, Perez continued to speed on local roads, and was driving approximately 70 miles per hour on Fairhaven Avenue. The defendant was driving on the wrong side of the road and forcing other cars to swerve from their lanes to avoid a head on collision. Perez ran through two red lights at high speeds and then tried to split between two cars. As he attempted to maneuver between the two cars, Perez crashed his car into the back of a Mercedes Benz SUV driven by victim Chun Kim. The impact pushed Mr. Kim’s car into a light pole, crunching the vehicle. Other drivers who witnessed the crash got out of their cars and ran to help Mr. Kim, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 69-year-old victim was actively involved in his church and had committed himself to charity work. Mr. Kim’s family asked for no restitution from the defendant because no amount of money could compensate for the loss of their loved one.
Perez, whose car also crashed, got out of his car and attempted to flee the scene, but witnesses to the crash chased after him until he got tired of running and eventually gave up.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Cameron Talley of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.