Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
DISTRACTED FREEWAY DRIVER CHARGED WITH KILLING MOTORIST BY CRASHING AT 80MPH
INTO CAR STOPPED IN TRAFFIC
WESTMINSTER – An inattentive driver was arrested today on charges of killing a motorist by crashing into the victim’s car at approximately 80 mph after failing to notice that traffic had come to a stop. Jorene Ypanto Nicolas, 29, San Diego, is charged with one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison if convicted. She is being held on $100,000 bail and is expected to be arraigned Monday, Jan. 30, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. in Department W-15, West Justice Center, Westminster.
At approximately 11:00 a.m. on April 27, 2011, Nicolas is accused of speeding northbound on Interstate 405 near Edwards Street in a Toyota Prius. She is accused of being distracted and inattentive while driving and failing to notice that the traffic ahead had come to a complete stop.
Nicolas is accused of failing to brake or slow and crashing at approximately 80 mph into the back of a Hyundai sedan, which was just starting to move after being at a full stop in traffic, driven by 23-year-old Deanna Mauer. The victim’s car was pushed into the car in front of her and then traveled and struck the center divider before coming to a stop facing southbound in the northbound lanes.
After crashing into the victim’s car, Nicolas is accused of losing control of her own vehicle and also crashing into the center divider. The defendant was transported to the hospital to be treated for minor lacerations.
The victim, who had been wearing her seatbelt, was transported to University of California, Irvine Medical Center. She was pronounced dead at 6:00 p.m. that day as a result of brain death due to vertebral artery transection.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) investigated this case. Nicolas was arrested today by the CHP.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Alison Gyves of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.