Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
DRIVER SENTENCED FOR KILLING 8-YEAR-OLD GIRL
IN CRASH AFTER UNSAFE LANE CHANGE
*Victim’s aunt and aunt’s boyfriend were also injured in the crash
SANTA ANA – A driver was convicted today of killing an 8-year-old girl and injuring her aunt and aunt’s boyfriend by crashing into their car after making an unsafe lane change. Soroosh Lee Mehdi, 28, Trabuco Canyon, pleaded guilty to a court offer to one felony count of vehicular manslaughter by unlawful act with gross negligence with sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury to two victims. He was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of formal probation. The People objected to the sentence, arguing that the defendant should be sentenced to state prison due to the seriousness of his conduct.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. on May 24, 2009, Mehdi was driving at speeds between 50 and 80 mph in a 50 mph zone on El Toro Road in Lake Forest in his BMW sedan. At El Toro Road and Toledo Way, Mehdi crossed through the intersection against a yellow light.
After passing through the intersection, the defendant made an unsafe lane change near Pino Lane and crashed into the driver’s side of a Chevrolet sport utility vehicle, driven by 27-year-old Jose Cervantes. Cervantes lost control of his vehicle due to the force of the impact and crashed into a wood utility pole. Cervantes had been driving with his girlfriend Magdalena Curiel Topete and Topete’s niece Jasmine Sanchez as passengers.
The defendant killed Sanchez, who died at the scene, by causing her to suffer blunt force trauma injuries. Topete, 21 years old, suffered lacerations to her face and liver. Cervantes suffered lacerations to his face and forehead.
Deputy District Attorney Jason Baez of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.