|For Immediate Release
Case # 08WF2093
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
DRIVER UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR MURDERING MOM WHO WAS RIDING BIKE WITH SON
SANTA ANA – A driver under the influence of prescription drugs and alcohol was sentenced today to 15 years to life in state prison for murdering a woman by crashing his car into her while she was riding her bike on the sidewalk with her son. Alex David Trujillo, 45, Garden Grove, was found guilty by a jury June 23, 2010, of one felony count of murder.
At approximately 4:55 p.m. on Oct. 12, 2008, 46-year-old Catherine Busse was riding her bike on Lampson Avenue in Seal Beach with her 15-year-old son, Samuel Busse. The pair was riding on the sidewalk. Trujillo was driving nearby and veered off the road up onto the sidewalk at 45 mph. He was driving under the influence of multiple prescription drugs including Oxycontin, Vicodin, Xanax, and Soma. He had a blood alcohol level of .11 percent.
Trujillo crashed his car into Catherine Busse, who was thrown from her bike and landed nearby. Witnesses called 911 and detained Trujillo until police arrived. Catherine Busse died at the scene due to blunt force trauma to the head. Her son, Samuel Busse, was transported to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
Trujillo, who has a prior 2002 conviction for driving under the influence, had completed an alcohol awareness class and a Mothers Against Drunk Driving panel, during which he was advised of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
During the trial, evidence was presented that Trujillo frequented four different pharmacies to obtain between 120 and 180 Vicodin pills and between 60 and 120 Oxycontin pills every month. Despite toxicology reports showing a presentence of Xanax in the defendant’s system at the time of the crash, the defendant testified that he had never taken that prescription drug.
The People argued during the trial that Trujillo’s drug and alcohol impaired driving was not limited to the day he murdered Busse, but was a daily occurrence based on his excessive prescription drug use and his admission to the hospital at the time of his arrest that he frequently consumed alcohol. The People argued that the defendant lived every day with a conscious disregard for the danger he posed to other drivers and pedestrians on the road.
During the sentencing today, Busse’s husband, sisters, and friend, gave victim impact statements to the court. “At the time of Cathy’s death, we had been married for approximately 16 years. We had only one son, Samuel, who suffers from autism. Cathy lived and breathed for our son. I am now the sole provider for [him]. Now I am faced with an uncertain future about what will happen to Sam in the event of my death. Who will take care of him?” said Ben Busse, the victim’s husband. “When Trujillo killed Cathy, he destroyed a very important life. It is so difficult to explain how our lives have been affected by Cathy’s death.”