|For Immediate Release
Case # 12NF0309
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
DRUNKEN WRONG-WAY FREEWAY DRIVER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR MURDERING ONE AND INJURING ANOTHER IN HEAD-ON CRASH
SANTA ANA – A drunken driver is expected to be arraigned on charges of murdering one and injuring another in a head-on crash after driving the wrong way into oncoming traffic on two separate Orange County freeways. Ruben Gurrola, 23, Pomona, is charged with one felony count each of murder, driving under the influence causing bodily injury, and driving with a blood alcohol level .08 percent or more causing injury with sentencing enhancements and allegations for causing great bodily injury and causing bodily injury to more than one victim. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 19 years to life in state prison. Gurrola is being held on $1 million bail and is expected to be arraigned tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The date and time of arraignment are subject to change due to the defendant’s continuing medical hold at the Orange County Jail, Adult Correctional Health Services.
Late on the night of Jan. 28, 2012, Gurrola is accused of leaving a Newport Beach bar with his 24-year-old girlfriend Allison Poon after several hours of drinking alcohol with friends. The defendant is accused of taking a cab with Poon to a friend’s house.
After arriving at the home, Gurrola is accused of getting into the driver’s seat of a Honda sedan and driving away with Poon in the passenger seat. At approximately 1:40 a.m., the defendant is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol on the wrong side of the freeway into oncoming traffic, heading northbound in the southbound lanes of the 241 toll road. Several motorists called 911 and had to swerve to avoid being hit by the defendant.
Gurrola is accused of transitioning onto State Route 91, again driving on the wrong side of the freeway by heading eastbound in the westbound lanes. Gurrola is accused of crashing head-on into a Toyota sedan driven by 57-year-old Young Kim with 53-year-old Kyung Namgoong in the passenger seat.
Namgoong was transported the hospital and pronounced dead at approximately 2:50 a.m. Kim was transported to the hospital to be treated for back and leg pain and an ankle laceration. Poon was treated for a broken nose and pain in her neck. Gurrola is accused of murdering Namgoong and injuring Kim and Poon.
The defendant was transported to the hospital to be treated for a broken leg. At 3:15 a.m., Gurrola is accused of having a blood alcohol level of .17 percent. The defendant is accused of having prior knowledge of the dangers of drinking and driving.
Gurrola was arrested upon his release from the hospital yesterday, Feb. 2, 2012, by the California Highway Patrol, who investigated this case.