|For Immediate Release
Case # 05ZF0121
January 15, 2008
Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
DRIVER FACES MURDER TRIAL FOR KILLING TWO PEOPLE IN HIGH SPEED CRASH WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
SANTA ANA – A driver under the influence of marijuana and alcohol faces trial today for two counts of murder for killing two people in a high speed crash in Mission Viejo. Jon David Tafoya, 28, Downey, faces a maximum of 30 years to life in prison. Opening statements are scheduled to begin today, Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On April 5, 2005, Tafoya is accused of evading Orange County Sheriff’s deputies as they attempted to pull him over as he was leaving Tortilla Flat’s at Lake Mission Viejo for suspected drinking and driving. Tafoya is accused of speeding away in his 2005 Chevy Silverado truck and turning from Marguerite Parkway onto Jeronimo Road heading west. He is accused of driving 90 miles per hour on the wrong side of the road up a hill as Sheriff’s deputies followed on the correct side of the street. As he sped over the hill, Tafoya is accused of seeing an oncoming car and crashing head-on into a two door Saturn. The Saturn driver, Eusebio Flores, 40, Lake Forest, and the passenger, Melody Woodridge, 22, Redlands, were both killed. Tafoya is accused of having a blood alcohol level of .11 percent, as well as marijuana in his system.
“We will prove that four years prior to these murders, Tafoya was warned and educated through alcohol awareness classes about the specific dangers of driving while intoxicated. The evidence will show that when he got behind the wheel of his car loaded up on drugs and alcohol, ran from police and sped on the wrong side of the road, he knew his actions could be deadly,” said Senior Deputy District Attorney Howard Gundy of the Homicide Unit, who is prosecuting this case. “His reckless disregard for the safety of others directly resulted in the loss of two lives.”