Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR KILLING BICYCLIST IN EARLY-MORNING CRASH WHILE MAKING
ILLEGAL LEFT TURN
SANTA ANA – A man will be arraigned tomorrow on an amended complaint for killing a bicyclist by making an illegal left turn, causing the victim to lose control and crash. Jose Luis Huerta Mundo, 38, Garden Grove, is charged with one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence and one misdemeanor count of driving a motor vehicle without a valid license. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail. The People will be requesting Mundo be held on $100,000 bail at his arraignment tomorrow, Friday, July 23, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
At approximately 7:30 a.m. on July 15, 2010, Mundo, a self-employed gardener, is accused of driving his landscaping truck to a job in Newport Beach near the intersection of Spyglass Hill Road and Harbor Ridge Drive. At the intersection, he is accused making an illegal left turn against two “no left turn” road signs, including a sign with a red circular “no” symbol containing a left arrow pictogram. Mundo is accused of cutting off a bicycle group including rider Michael Nine, 43, causing the victim to brake rapidly, lose control, and crash head-first into the left rear portion of the defendant’s truck. Witnesses called 911.
Nine was transported to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach where he died approximately an hour later due to blunt force trauma. The victim was married and had two young children.
The law describing the distinction between misdemeanor and felony manslaughter:
Misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter may be charged is where there is “ordinary negligence” or the failure to use reasonable care to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to one self or another. A person is negligent if he or she does or fails to do something that a reasonable careful person would not do in the same situation.
Felony vehicular manslaughter may be charged where there is “gross negligence” which involves more than ordinary carelessness, inattention, or mistake in judgment. Gross Negligence would require a person to act in a reckless way that creates a high risk of death or great bodily injury and a reasonable person would have known that acting in that way would create such a risk. The person’s action must be so different from how an ordinary careful person would act in the same situation that his or her act amounts to disregard for human life or indifference to the consequences of the act.
Deputy District Attorney Vanessa Woods is prosecuting this case.