Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
UNINSURED, DISTRACTED DRIVER CONVICTED OF KILLING MOTORIST IN CRASH AFTER RUNNING THROUGH RED LIGHT
SANTA ANA – A distracted driver was convicted today of killing another motorist by crashing into the victim’s car in an intersection after running through a red light. Laurie Anne Keen, 43, Irvine, pleaded guilty to one felony count of vehicular manslaughter, one misdemeanor count of the recent use of a controlled substance, and an infraction for driving without automobile insurance. Keen is expected to be sentenced to two years in state prison at her sentencing Jan. 6, 2012, at 1:30 p.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The victim’s family will have an opportunity to make a victim impact statement at that time.
At approximately 1:21 p.m. on Jan. 18, 2011, Keen was driving in Irvine in a Chevrolet van southbound on Culver Drive approaching the intersection at Farwell Avenue. The defendant did not have automobile insurance. She failed to pay attention, drove through a red light, and crashed into the driver’s side of a Toyota sedan driven by 77-year-old Patricia Thompson-Yates. The victim was making a legal left turn from eastbound Farwell Avenue to northbound Culver Drive on a green light.
After the initial crash, Keen’s vehicle spun counterclockwise and crashed into the victim’s vehicle a second time. Both cars came to a stop in the middle of the intersection.
Thompson-Yates was transported to Hoag Hospital, Irvine, where she was pronounced dead at 2:04 p.m. due to multiple blunt traumatic injuries. The defendant refused medical care and was not transported to the hospital. A test of the defendant’s blood revealed that she had methamphetamine in her system due to recent use.
Deputy District Attorney Nancy Hayashida of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.