|For Immediate Release
Case # 07CF1356
January 29, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
SOUTH KOREAN FUGITIVE TO BE EXTRADITED
AND ARRAIGNED FOR KILLING 23-YEAR-OLD MOTORCYCLIST IN 2005 ALCOHOL RELATED FREEWAY CRASH
SANTA ANA – A fugitive charged with killing a motorcyclist in a 2005 freeway crash while under the influence of alcohol will be extradited to Orange County tomorrow after being arrested in South Korea. Youn Bum Lee, 42, formerly of Irvine, is charged with one felony count of vehicular manslaughter by unlawful act with gross negligence while intoxicated, one felony count of gross vehicular manslaughter, one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury, and one felony count of hit and run causing death. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison if convicted on all counts. Lee was arrested on a $1 million warrant.
Lee is being extradited from Seoul, South Korea and is expected to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) tomorrow, Friday, Jan. 30, 2009, at 3:15 p.m. on Delta Airlines flight #7879. He will be escorted by the United States Marshals Service. Lee is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, Feb. 2, 2009, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55 or C-57, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
At approximately 8:00 p.m. on Oct. 18, 2005, Lee is accused of attending a company sponsored dinner at Seoul Oak Korean BBQ Restaurant in Garden Grove with six other co-workers from Hyundai Motor America. The group consumed 14 bottles of soju, a distilled Korean rice wine, before going to a nearby karaoke bar, 25 SI, on Garden Grove Boulevard. Lee is accused of consuming more alcoholic drinks at the karaoke bar before getting into his black company issued Hyundai sport utility vehicle at approximately 12:05 a.m. on Oct. 19, 2005.
While under the influence of alcohol, Lee is accused of driving with his headlights off on from State Route 22 onto State Route 55 heading southbound. The defendant is accused of veering into the carpool lane and crashing into the center median due to intoxication. Lee’s car rolled backwards and came to a stop in the carpool lane south of Dyer Road in Santa Ana. Victim Ryan Dallas Cook, 23, Fountain Valley, was riding his motorcycle in the carpool lane on his way home. Cook was unable to stop in time to avoid crashing into Lee’s black, unlit car. The victim, a student at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, was ejected from his motorcycle and thrown onto the freeway, where he was run over by several other vehicles. Cook was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of multiple traumatic injuries due to blunt force vehicle trauma. Lee is accused of fleeing the scene at a high rate of speed.
Later that morning, on Oct. 19, 2005, Lee is accused of arriving at work at Hyundai Motor America in Fountain Valley. He is accused of parking his car front-in in the parking lot, but returning five minutes later to move his car and back into the parking space. He is accused of attempting to hide the evidence from the crash, including a shattered back windshield and blood, hair, and other human tissue from the victim.
That morning, Lee is accused of consulting with a co-worker, whom he had been drinking with the night before, as well as with general counsel at Hyundai Motor America. The co-worker and a supervisor drove Lee to LAX that afternoon. At 12:30 a.m. on Oct. 20, 2005, just 24 hours after Cook was killed, Lee is accused of boarding a flight on Korean Air to Seoul, South Korea, leaving his wife and young child behind.