|For Immediate Release
Case # 09CF1974
November 6, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
DRUNKEN DRIVER SENTENCED TO SIX YEARS IN PRISON FOR KILLING FRIEND IN HIGH-SPEED CRASH AFTER 10-HOUR DRINKING BINGE
SANTA ANA – A drunken driver who lost control and flipped his car was sentenced today to six years in state prison for killing a friend in a high-speed crash after a 10-hour drinking binge. Jose Maria Olmos, 37, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty to a court offer to one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, one misdemeanor count of driving a motor vehicle without a license, and a sentencing enhancement allegation for causing bodily injury to a victim while driving.
Beginning at approximately 2:00 p.m. on July 25, 2009, Olmos and two friends, Juan Garcia and Jose Guadalupe Vilchis, went to several bars and continuously consumed numerous alcoholic beverages. After hours of drinking, Olmos got into the driver’s seat of a Chevrolet Suburban at approximately 12:50 a.m. on July 26, 2009. Vilchis was seated in the front passenger seat and Garcia was seated in the back seat behind Vilchis. The defendant drove under the influence of alcohol at speeds between 60 and 70 mph in a 30 mph zone on Standard Avenue in Santa Ana. Olmos lost control of the Suburban, which flipped onto its side before it came to rest in a parking lot just north of Bishop Street on Standard Avenue.
Officers from the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) arrived and found Garcia on the pavement next to the overturned car. The victim was bleeding profusely from the head and was transported to Western Medical Center, where he died as a result of his injuries at 1:30 a.m.
Olmos displayed objective signs of intoxication including bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech, impaired balance and coordination, and an odor of alcohol on his breath. Olmos was not arrested at this time, as officers were unclear as to who was the driver in the crash. Subsequent investigation revealed that Olmos was the driver. A warrant was issued for the defendant’s arrest on July 31, 2009. Olmos turned himself in on Aug. 10, 2009.
During the sentencing today, victim Garcia’s wife, Carolina Morales, tearfully addressed the court and stated that not only would she have to live without her husband, but her 6-year-old son was going to grow up without his father.
Deputy District Attorney Jason Baez of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.