Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
DRIVER UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL AND MARIJUANA CONVICTED OF CAUSING HIGH-SPEED FREEWAY CRASH, KILLING TWO AND
SEVERELY INJURING ANOTHER
*All three victims were elderly
SANTA ANA – A driver under the influence of alcohol and marijuana was convicted today of causing a high-speed freeway crash, killing two elderly passengers and severely injuring their elderly driver. Trevor Mark Coffman, 38, Laguna Niguel, pleaded guilty to the court to two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with ordinary negligence while intoxicated with a sentencing enhancement allegation for causing great bodily injury to an elder. The defendant is expected to be sentenced to four years in state prison at his sentencing hearing Jan. 7, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-43, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On March 15, 2007, 76-year-old Sally Lee Howd and her 82-year-old husband Frank Howd were returning home with 72-year-old Catherine Malloy, a visiting friend whom they picked up from Los Angeles International Airport. They were driving southbound in the carpool lane on Interstate 5 and collided with a black Toyota Celica, which was disabled with no emergency signal lights on the freeway south of El Toro Road.
In the evening of March 15, 2007, Coffman consumed several alcoholic drinks following a recreational softball game. At approximately 11:20 p.m., the defendant drove southbound on Interstate 5 while intoxicated in his pick-up truck with a friend in the passenger seat. Coffman failed to stop due to his intoxication and crashed into the victims’ Volvo, which was disabled as a result of the earlier collision. Witnesses called 911.
Coffman killed passengers Malloy and Frank Howd and severely injured driver Sally Howd. Malloy was pronounced dead at the scene. The two other victims were transported to the hospital to be treated for their injuries. Frank Howd suffered internal injuries and a broken pelvis and died the next day from multiple traumatic injuries that were caused by the crash. Sally Howd sustained a skull fracture, broken ribs, and cuts to her face.
When contacted by police at the scene, Coffman displayed objective signs of intoxication including impaired balance and coordination, watery eyes, and an odor of alcohol on his breath. The defendant had a blood alcohol level of .10 percent and tested positive for marijuana. Coffman was arrested after being transported to the hospital and treated for a broken collar bone and scratches.
Deputy District Attorney Jason Baez of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.