Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
August 12, 2009
Susan Kang Schroeder
DRUNKEN DRIVER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR
KILLING FRIEND IN HIGH-SPEED CRASH AFTER
10-HOUR DRINKING BINGE
SANTA ANA – A drunken driver who lost control and flipped his car will be arraigned today for killing a friend in a high-speed crash after a 10-hour drinking binge. Jose Maria Olmos, 37, Santa Ana, is charged with 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. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 11 years in state prison. The People will be requesting $1 million bail at Olmos’ arraignment today, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009, at 1:30 p.m. in Department C-57, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The defendant is also being held without bail on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.
Beginning at approximately 2:00 p.m. on July 25, 2009, Olmos and two friends, Juan Garcia and Jose Guadalupe Vilchis, are accused of going to several bars and continuously consuming numerous alcoholic beverages. After hours of drinking, Olmos is accused of getting 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 is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding between 60 and 70 mph in a 30 mph zone on Standard Avenue in Santa Ana. Olmos is accused of losing 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 is accused of displaying 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.
Deputy District Attorney Jason Baez of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.