SPEEDING DRIVER SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR KILLING PEDESTRIAN AND INJURING ANOTHER IN CROSS-WALK CRASH

Case # 14NF0328

Date: February 23, 2017

SPEEDING DRIVER SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR KILLING PEDESTRIAN AND INJURING ANOTHER IN CROSSWALK CRASH AFTER RUNNING RED LIGHT

*Defendant fled the scene and led police on high-speed chase

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A speeding driver was sentenced today to seven years in state prison for killing one woman and injuring another after running a red light and crashing into them in a crosswalk, fleeing the scene, and leading police on a high-speed chase. Caroline Sujin Kim, 24, Hacienda Heights, pleaded guilty on Dec. 29, 2016, to one felony count each of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, evading a peace officer while driving recklessly, and hit and run causing permanent injury or death, with a sentencing enhancement for fleeing the scene after committing vehicular manslaughter. The defendant was also ordered to pay restitution.

At approximately 8:50 p.m. on Oct. 25, 2013, Kim drove at a high rate of speed on Whittier Boulevard in La Habra. She drove through a red light at the Rigsby Street intersection and crashed her car into two pedestrians, 38-year-old Sandra Ceballos and 43-year-old Michelle M., who were lawfully crossing the street in a marked crosswalk.

The force of the collision projected Ceballos onto the hood and roof of the vehicle before falling into the roadway. She was pronounced dead approximately one hour later due to the injuries she sustained in the crash. Michelle M. sustained minor injuries and was released from the hospital the day after the crash.

After hitting the victims, Kim fled the scene, failing to stop and render aid to either victim. When police officers located the defendant, she led them on a high-speed pursuit at speeds over 80 mph for several miles. Kim drove through multiple red lights while fleeing and was eventually arrested after crashing into a parked car in Hacienda Heights.

During Kim’s sentencing today, victim impact statements were delivered to the court pursuant to Marsy’s Law. Ceballos’ sister described the trauma she and the rest of the family endured the night of the incident and in the years following the incident. She stated in part, “With no remorse, no care, no concern, no humanity, she proceeded at that high rate of speed down that very busy Whittier Boulevard without rendering any aide to my sister… The life of Sandy Ceballos was not only taken in that crosswalk that night, but also a piece of our lives took their last breath that night too. Our family has been so displaced without Sandy.”

Deputy District Attorney Mark Birney of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.