Case # 20HF1339
Impaired Driver Charged with Murder in Death of 23-year-old, Seriously Injuring his Twin Brother after Police Pursuit involving the Driver Called Off
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 44-year-old woman has been charged with murder for killing a man and injuring his twin brother shortly after police called off a police pursuit involving the woman.
Ariana Joyce, 44, of San Francisco, has been charged with one felony count of murder, one felony count of driving under the influence causing injury, two felony enhancements for committing a secondary offense while released from custody, and one felony enhancement of inflicting great bodily injury.
Joyce is scheduled to be arraigned on September 18, 2020 at the Central Justice Center in C5. She faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life plus four years if convicted on all charges.
On August 21, 2020, a Laguna Beach Police Officer attempted to contact Joyce when she was stopped in her vehicle on a red curb. Joyce drove off and the police officer managed to stop her again a short time later. She again drove off and police initiated a pursuit as she drove at high speeds and ran several red lights.
The pursuit was called off for safety reasons near Crown Valley Parkway and Pacific Coast Highway in the city of Dana Point.
Joyce is accused of running the red light at Selva Road and hitting a vehicle driven by 23-year-old Jason Carbonell. Carbonell was killed and his twin brother was seriously injured. A woman in Carbonell’s vehicle received minor injuries.
Joyce was convicted of DUI in federal court in 2009.
The Steve Ambriz Act, authored by then-Assembly member Todd Spitzer, requires people applying for a California driver’s license to sign a form acknowledging that they can be charged with murder if they kill someone while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“The loss of such a young and innocent life as a result of a stranger’s selfish decision to get behind the wheel while impaired is beyond senseless,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “No parent should have to bury their child. “As a member of the State Assembly, I authored the Steve Ambriz Act to be able to charge impaired drivers with murder. The ultimate goal of that law is to prevent drivers from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while impaired and causing these senseless deaths because they understand the consequences of being charged with murder and a life sentence. This could have been prevented – and instead a family is mourning the loss of a young man with his entire life ahead of him and nurturing the other twin back to health.”
Over the last month the Orange County District Attorney’s Office has filed numerous cases involving fatal DUI crashes. District Attorney Spitzer has declared that Orange County is facing a serious crisis that has resulted in the senseless deaths of so many innocent people. In response, District Attorney Spitzer is convening a meeting next week with local law enforcement leaders, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the state Office of Traffic Safety, and statewide trainers to address what can be done to stop this disturbing trend and save additional lives.
Deputy District Attorney Elise Hatcher of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.