For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
DRIVER SENTENCED FOR KILLING A 3-YEAR-OLD GIRL
BY RUNNING RED LIGHT AND SLAMMING INTO CAR
SANTA ANA – A driver was convicted and sentenced today for killing a 3-year-old girl by running a red light and slamming into a car. Soon Ok Lee, 66, Irvine, pleaded guilty to a court offer to one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence with a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury. Lee was sentenced to 180 days in jail suspended, three years of formal probation, and was ordered to serve 200 hours of community service.
At approximately 4:40 p.m. on May 15, 2011, Lee was driving alone in her 2008 Acura TL eastbound on Edinger Avenue approaching the intersection at Kensington Park Drive in Tustin. At the intersection, Lee ran a red light and slammed into a 2002 Honda Accord with a family of three inside as the car was making a legal left-turn on a green arrow light, from Edinger Avenue to Kensington Park Drive. Lee crashed her vehicle into the victim’s car, causing it to spin before coming to rest in the middle of the intersection. Lee’s car ended up on the sidewalk at the southeast corner of the intersection.
Lee caused the impact of the crash, which killed 3-year-old Milena Avila. The toddler suffered blunt force head trauma and was pronounced dead upon her arrival to the hospital. The girl’s mother suffered a fractured hip as a result of the crash.
During the sentencing today, Avila’s mother and maternal grandparents gave victim impact statements to the court. Avila’s grandmother, Carol Chassagne, said, “Milena’s birth brought renewed joy, hope, and thankfulness. To me, Milena was a very easy child to care for. She was happy, strong, willing to please. She helped me make cookies, wash dishes, and work in the garden. We took walks in the stroller every week… I miss Milena. I just plain miss her.”
Deputy District Attorney Nancy Hayashida of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.