|For Immediate Release
Case # 10NF4137 April 9, 2013
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
DRUNKEN TEEN DRIVER FACES TRIAL FOR KILLING FATHER AND SON IN HIGH-SPEED EARLY-MORNING CRASH
SANTA ANA – A drunken teenage driver faces trial tomorrow for murdering a father and son in an early-morning high-speed crash. Rafael Lopez, now-20, Anaheim, is charged with two felony counts of murder and faces a maximum sentence of 30 years to life in state prison if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow morning, Wednesday, April 10, 2013, in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
At approximately 5:30 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2010, then-18-year-old 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 his Mitsubishi sedan at approximately 80 miles per hour in a 45 miles per hour zone, accelerating through a red light at the intersection of Knott Avenue and Crescent Avenue, and failing to brake before 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. Steven and Douglas Uselton were both pronounced dead at the scene. Lopez is accused of murdering Douglas Uselton by causing blunt force trauma to the head and internal injuries. Lopez is accused of murdering 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 his hospital discharge.
The victims are survived by a wife/mother and a teenage daughter/sister.
BPPD investigated this case and Senior Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.