Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
September 21, 2009
Susan Kang Schroeder
JUDGE SENTENCES DRUNKEN DRIVER TO SIX YEARS FOR KILLING TWO PASSENGERS IN FREEWAY CRASH AFTER VICTIM’S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION
FULLERTON – A judge sentenced a drunken driver today to six years in state prison for killing her two passengers by flipping her car in a freeway crash after celebrating one of the victim’s 30th birthday. Lynette Ann Hunt, 32, Fullerton, pleaded guilty to the court on Aug. 3, 2009, to one felony count of vehicular manslaughter by unlawful act with gross negligence while intoxicated, one misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license, and sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury and having a blood alcohol level of .15 percent.
At the time of the defendant’s plea, the people requested that Hunt receive the maximum sentence of 13 years in state prison for her crimes.
On July 11, 2008, Hunt and two friends, 28-year-old Vanessa Herrada, Fullerton, and 30-year-old Maria Zamarripa, Fontana, were celebrating Zamarippa’s 30th birthday at California Girls Gentleman’s Club in Santa Ana. The three left the club in Hunt’s 1993 Honda sedan.
At approximately 6:35 p.m., Hunt, who was driving recklessly and weaving in and out of lanes on westbound State Route 91, hit her brakes and locked all four tires, causing the car to skid and the tires to smoke as she approached the East Street exit. She then accelerated and suddenly veered across several lanes of traffic. Hunt’s vehicle flipped down the freeway embankment, rolled over, and ejected Hunt and Zamarripa from the car.
California Highway Patrol officers responded to the crash and investigated the case and observed that Hunt emitted a strong odor of alcohol, slurred her speech, and had bloodshot and watery eyes. Approximately two hours after the crash, Hunt had a blood alcohol level of .15 percent, almost two times the legal limit.
Herrada was pronounced dead at the scene due to major head trauma. Zamarripa was transported to UCI Medical Center with severe internal injuries and died at the hospital shortly after the crash. Hunt suffered a broken clavicle and ribs.
At Hunt’s sentencing today, the family and children of both victims made impact statements expressing how difficult the holidays will be without their loved ones.
Deputy District Attorney Jason Baez of the Homicide Unit is prosecuted this case.