|For Immediate Release
Case # 07NF0250
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
DRIVER WITH A BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL OF .22 AND THREE PRIOR DUI CONVICTIONS FACES TRIAL FOR MURDERING PASSENGER BY CRASHING INTO
A BIG-RIG TRUCK
WESTMINSTER – Opening statements are expected to begin this morning in the case against Suzanne Amelia Carlson, 27, Mission Viejo, who is charged with one felony count each of murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with prior convictions. The defendant has three prior convictions for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, one in 2001 and two in 2006. If convicted, Carlson faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. in Department W-18, West Justice Center, Westminster
On the night of Jan. 15, 2007, Carlson is accused of spending more than two hours consuming alcoholic drinks at a restaurant in Rancho Santa Margarita. The defendant is accused of leaving the restaurant and getting into the driver’s seat of a 1997 Infiniti sedan, belonging to 55-year-old Scott Turner. The defendant is accused of being under the influence of alcohol and driving at unsafe speeds with Turner in the front passenger seat.
At approximately 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 16, 2007, while driving westbound on California State Route 91, Carlson is accused of veering across two lanes and crashing into the back of a Fed-Ex 18-wheel truck. The force of the impact crushed the right side of the victim’s car, causing Carlson to lose control and crash into the wall on the side of the freeway. Carlson is accused of freeing herself from the car by climbing out of the sun roof.
Turner was trapped inside the vehicle and firefighters had to pry the car open to extricate the victim who suffered internal injuries, from which he died shortly after the crash. At approximately 2:00 a.m., an hour and a half after the crash, Carlson is accused of having a .22 percent blood alcohol level, almost three times the legal limit.
For each one of Carlson’s DUI convictions, in 2001 and 2006 the defendant took alcohol awareness courses where she was instructed about the dangers of drinking and driving and advised that driving under the influence of alcohol can result in killing oneself or others.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Steve McGreevy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.