|For Immediate Release
Case # 12CF1698
June 18, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
DRUNKEN DRIVER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR KILLING MOTORCYCLIST AND INJURING ANOTHER DRIVER IN CHAIN-REACTION-CRASH
SANTA ANA – A drunken driver will be arraigned tomorrow for killing a motorcyclist and injuring another driver in a chain-reaction-crash. Leslie Juarez, 27, Laguna Beach, is charged with one felony count each of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing bodily injury, and driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or more causing bodily injury. She faces sentencing enhancements and allegations for driving with a blood alcohol level of .20 percent or more, causing bodily injury or death to more than one victim, and inflicting great bodily injury. If convicted, Juarez faces a maximum sentence of 13 years in state prison. She is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Tuesday, June 19, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
At approximately 11:30 p.m. on March 29, 2012, Juarez is accused of consuming alcoholic beverages before driving her Mitsubishi Eclipse southbound on the Interstate 405 north of the Sand Canyon exit in Irvine. Juarez is accused of speeding and swerving into another lane, and hitting the passenger side of a Nissan Sentra driven by 21-year-old Joelle Friedlander. The defendant is accused of causing Friedlander’s car to go over the center divider and spin out of control onto the northbound side of the freeway. The impact of the collision with the center divider disabled the engine and lights on Friedlander’s vehicle before it came to a stop facing eastbound in the two carpool lanes. Friedlander was able to exit the car and run to the center median.
The defendant is accused of causing a chain-reaction-crash approximately two minutes later with a motorcycle driven by 32-year-old JC Droege. She is accused of causing the accident which caused Droege to slam into the disabled Sentra while he was riding on the northbound Interstate 405, throwing Droege from his motorcycle.
The defendant is accused of killing Droege, who was pronounced dead at the scene due to multiple blunt traumatic injuries. Friedlander was taken to Hoag Hospital in Irvine and was treated for a fractured ankle, bruises, and cuts.
When California Highway Patrol officers arrived, Juarez is accused of displaying objective signs of intoxication including emitting an odor of alcohol, slurred speech, and unsteady balance. Approximately two hours after the crash, Juarez is accused of having a blood alcohol level of .23 percent, nearly three times the legal limit.
Deputy District Attorney Nancy Hayashida of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.