|For Immediate Release
Case # 10HF0913
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
DRIVER UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL AND METHAMPHETAMINE SENTENCED TO EIGHT YEARS IN PRISON FOR KILLING TWO PASSENGERS AND INJURING TWO OTHERS
SANTA ANA – A speeding, impaired driver was sentenced today to eight years in state prison for killing two of his passengers and seriously injuring two others by crashing into a cement-brick wall. Jimmy Tuan Phan, 24, Irvine, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated with sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury and bodily injury.
At 11:35 p.m. on Aug. 20, 2009, Phan was speeding eastbound on Shady Canyon Drive in Irvine in his Honda sedan with passengers 18-year-old Daniel Tran, 19-year-old Arlene Tjandrawansa, 18-year-old Yanting He, and 16-year-old Christine T. The defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol and methamphetamine at a high rate of speed and failed to stop at a stop sign. Phan lost control of his car, drove up onto the center median, and crashed into a cement-brick wall at the entrance to the Shady Canyon community.
As a result of the crash caused by Phan, victim Tran sustained blunt force injuries and died at the scene. Tjandrawansa died the following day at Western Medical Center. He and Christine T. sustained traumatic injuries including intracranial hemorrhage and fractures to the leg, pelvis, face and spine.
Approximately two hours after the crash, Phan had a blood alcohol content level of .04 percent. He was also under the influence of methamphetamine.
At the sentencing today, impact statements were read on behalf of three victims. Victim He wrote in part, “This upcoming Monday will be my 23rd surgery. There was not any part of my body undamaged from the car crash.” She described her extensive injuries and explained that the emotional impact has been equally as traumatic, explaining “My best friend, Arlene Tjandrawansa, is no longer in this world. I cry myself to sleep every night. I do not know if Arlene said any last words to me, all I know is I lost a very important person in my life. I will miss her.”
Tjandrawansa’s mother, Nhung Kim Luu, wrote in part, “I am heartbroken due to the loss of my only daughter. She was friends with many people, lively, young, and popular. Arlene survived for several hours following the accident. I want the court to know I am very devastated for what Arlene endured while she fought for her life. I am more devastated for her loss. I wish that Jimmy Phan would have made wiser choices before drinking and taking drugs.”
Tjandrawansa’s father, Jody Tjandrawansa, described in his letter the devastation and loss he feels at losing his 19-year-old daughter, from whom he had been separated for 10 years while living in Indonesia. He had finally rebuilt a relationship with her starting only one year before the crash, and now will never have the chance to make up for lost time with his “smart, cheerful, easygoing girl.”
The Irvine Police Department investigated and Deputy District Attorney Nancy Hayashida prosecuted this case.