|For Immediate Release
Case # 11HF1409
June 1, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
DRUNKEN DRIVER TO BE ARRAIGNED ON MURDER CHARGE FOR KILLING TEENAGER AND INJURING FOUR OTHERS IN MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND CRASH
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office filed charges today against a drunken driver for murdering a teenager and injuring four others in a Memorial Day Weekend crash. Austin Jeffrey Farley, 26, Irvine, is charged with one felony count each of murder and driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury with a sentencing enhancement for intentionally and personally inflicting and causing great bodily injury. If convicted, Farley faces a maximum sentence of 20 years to life in state prison. The defendant is being held on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned today, June 1, 2011, at 3:00 p.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
On the evening of May 28, 2011, Farley is accused of leaving his truck at a friend’s Irvine home, taking a cab to a bar with his girlfriend, and consuming alcohol. The defendant is accused of leaving the bar with his girlfriend and taking a cab back to his truck. He is accused of getting into his 2003 Dodge Dakota to take his girlfriend to get food and driving under the influence of alcohol.
At approximately 1:15 a.m. on May 29, 2011, Farley is accused of driving southbound on Culver Drive toward Irvine Boulevard with his girlfriend. Driving northbound on Culver Drive toward Irvine Boulevard, Mohammad G., 48-year-old father of 15-year-old Parisa G., was driving home his daughter and her three teenage friends. At the intersection, Farley is accused of making a left-hand turn against a red arrow into Mohammad G.’s Mercedes-Benz sedan, which was entering the intersection on a green light. The defendant is accused of crashing into the driver’s side of Mohammad G.’s car with four teenage girls inside. The impact of the crash caused fatal injuries to the left rear passenger, 14-year-old Ashton Sweet, who suffered brain swelling, a skull fracture, collapsed lung, facial, rib, and spinal fractures, and traumatic brain injury. The other three girls sustained injuries, 14-year-old Krista M., who was sitting in the middle rear seat, sustained a broken nose, rib fracture, lacerated spleen, lung injuries, and was rendered unconscious . Allison R., 15, seated in the rear right seat, Parisa G., seated in the front passenger seat, and Mohammad G. suffered minor injuries.
The Irvine police were contacted and arrived at the scene. The victims were taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, where the Mohammad G., Parisa G., and Allison R. were treated and released. Krista M. was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit. Sweet was pronounced brain dead at 5:00 a.m. due to the injuries she sustained in the crash.
At the scene, Farley is accused of displaying objective signs of intoxication including being disorientated, emitting a strong odor of alcohol, slurring his speech, and having bloodshot, watery eyes. The defendant is accused of not being able to keep his balance when he got out of his car. Farley is accused of having a blood alcohol content of .20 percent, two and a half times the legal limit.
Farley is accused of having prior knowledge that driving while under the influence of alcohol could result in the death of another person based on a prior misdemeanor driving under the influence charge, to which he pleaded guilty on June 18, 2009 (Case # 09HM02456). At his sentencing, the judge advised Farley that he could be prosecuted for murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence. He also learned about the dangers of drinking and driving in alcohol awareness courses as a condition of his sentence.