SECOND-TIME DRUNKEN DRIVER CHARGED WITH MURDER FOR VALENTINE’S DAY MORNING CRASH, KILLING ANOTHER DRIVER

OCDASeal

Orange County District Attorney
Press Release


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
Case # TBA



 


February 18, 2010

Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

SECOND-TIME DRUNKEN DRIVER CHARGED WITH MURDER FOR VALENTINE’S DAY MORNING CRASH, KILLING ANOTHER DRIVER

 

SANTA ANA – A 22-year-old community college student driving with blood alcohol content over twice the legal limit with a prior driving under the influence conviction, was charged today with one felony count of murder killing a 20-year-old passenger in another car in a high-speed crash.  Gustavo Adrian Vega, 22, Costa Mesa, a student at Orange Coast Community College, is also charged with one felony count of hit-and-run resulting in death for fleeing the scene of this accident on foot, one felony count of possession of cocaine, and a misdemeanor hit-and-run involving another victim.  He faces up to 15 years to life in prison if convicted. The defendant is being held on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned on the complaint on Feb. 18, 2010, at 11:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail Court, Santa Ana.

 

Prior History (Case # 06CM10804)

On April 24, 2006, Vega drove while under the influence of an intoxicating substance.  On Dec. 11, 2006, the defendant pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge. 

 

Circumstances

On Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010, the defendant was at a taqueria in Santa Ana.  He is accused of getting into a hit-and-run crash involving another victim. Vega is accused of knowingly fleeing the scene of this accident without exchanging identifying information with this driver.

 

Later that morning, the defendant is accused of driving on Flower Street towards Sunflower Avenue in Costa Mesa in his white 2008 Toyota Tundra.  In the other car, male driver Ha Nguyen, 21, Santa Ana, was driving westbound in his 2003 gold Toyota Corolla on Sunflower Avenue with friend Cara Lee, 20, Santa Ana, who was seated in the passenger seat.  At about 2:28 a.m., Vegas is accused of speeding through a red light while heading southbound on Flower towards Sunflower and hitting Nguyen’s Corolla which was crossing the intersection on a green light.  Nguyen was taken to Western Medical Center with minor injuries.  Victim Lee was pronounced dead at the scene. The defendant is accused of causing the impact, which killed the victim. The defendant is accused of fleeing on foot and hiding in a nearby housing complex where Costa Mesa Police (CMP) found him shortly later. 

 

When CMP contacted Vega, the defendant is accused of displaying objective signs of intoxication including emitting a strong odor of alcohol from his breath, having bloodshot and watery eyes, and poorly performing field sobriety tests measuring his impairment.  He is accused of having a blood alcohol content of .17 percent, more than twice the legal limit.  The defendant is accused of possessing a useable amount of cocaine in his pants pocket. 

 

Lee, the only child of Randy and Jackie Lee, was pursuing a modeling career while attending college. At the time of her death, Lee was working with children as a recreational youth leader for the City of Newport Beach. She survived a battle against cancer at the age of 17.

 

Deputy District Attorney J