DRUNKEN TEEN DRIVER CHARGED WITH KILLING FATHER AND SON IN HIGH-SPEED EARLY-MORNING CRASH

Orange County District Attorney
Press Release


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
Case #
 10NF4137


 



December 21, 2010

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

DRUNKEN TEEN DRIVER CHARGED WITH
KILLING FATHER AND SON IN HIGH-SPEED
EARLY-MORNING CRASH

SANTA ANA – A drunken teenage driver has been charged with killing a father and son in an early-morning high-speed crash. Rafael Lopez, 18, Anaheim, is charged with two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter by unlawful act causing death with gross negligence while intoxicated with sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 13 years in state prison. Lopez is being held on $200,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned today, Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined. 

At approximately 5:30 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2010, Lopez is accused of driving at a high rate of speed while under the influence of alcohol on Crescent Avenue in Buena Park. He is accused of driving through a red light at the intersection of Knott Avenue in his Mitsubishi sedan and crashing into a Buick sedan driven by 44-year-old Steven Uselton. Steven Uselton’s 17-year-old son Douglas Uselton was riding in the passenger seat, as his father was driving him to an early-morning high school debate tournament.

Lopez is accused of causing the victims’ car to travel over 130 feet before coming to a stop as a result of the high-speed impact. Steven and Douglas Uselton were both pronounced dead at the scene. Lopez is accused of killing Douglas Uselton by causing blunt force trauma to the head and internal injuries. Lopez is accused of killing Steven Uselton by causing multiple blunt force injuries and internal bleeding.

Lopez is accused of having a .13 blood alcohol level. He was transported from the scene to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries and was arrested by the Buena Park Police Department (BPPD) upon being discharged.

The victims are survived by a wife/mother and a teenage daughter/sister.

BPPD investigated this case and Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan Price of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

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