Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
December 17, 2009
Susan Kang Schroeder
WRONG-WAY DRUNKEN DRIVER CHARGED WITH KILLING TWO SISTERS AND INJURING THEIR TWO NIECES AFTER HEAD-ON FREEWAY CRASH
*Defendant had a blood alcohol level of .26 percent, more than three times the legal limit
FULLERTON – A drunken driver with a blood alcohol level of .26 percent, more than three times the legal limit, has been charged with killing two sisters and injuring their two nieces by crashing head-on into their vehicle while driving the wrong direction on the freeway. Jessica Lynn Shekell, 22, Anaheim, was charged with and arraigned Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009, on two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, one felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, one felony count of driving with a blood alcohol level over .08 percent causing bodily injury, and sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury. She faces a maximum sentence of 19 years and eight months in state prison if convicted on all counts. Shekell is being held on $150,000 bail and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing Feb. 26, 2010, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.
On Oct. 25, 2009, Shekell is accused of consuming several alcoholic beverages at two bars in Placentia while out with friends. At approximately 2:55 a.m. on Oct. 26, 2009, Shekell is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol the wrong direction eastbound into oncoming traffic on westbound State Route 91 (SR 91) in her Toyota pick-up truck near Gypsum Canyon Road. Two California Highway Patrol officers observed the defendant driving 50 mph the wrong direction and initiated a traffic break on the freeway in order to stop Shekell’s car.
As the officers exited the SR 91 and re-entered the freeway heading westbound to attempt to stop the defendant, Shekell is accused of crashing head-on into a Chevrolet pick-up truck driven by 49-year-old Sally Miguel. Sally Miguel, her 30-year-old sister Patricia Miguel, and their nieces, 15-year-old Mary Miguel and 11-year-old Sara Miguel, were driving home to San Bernardino after spending the evening together at Knott’s Berry Farm.
Shekell’s vehicle and the victims’ vehicle were totaled. Sally Miguel was pronounced dead at the scene. Patricia, who was riding in the front passenger seat, was transported to Western Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead shortly after 4:20 a.m. Shekell is accused of causing the blunt force injuries that killed both victims. Mary and Sara Miguel suffered internal injuries and were transported to area hospitals for treatment.
Shekell sustained facial trauma and fractures to her arms. She was transported to University of California, Irvine Medical Center for treatment and released a few weeks later. Approximately 45 minutes after the crash, Shekell is accused of having a blood alcohol level of .26 percent.
Deputy District Attorney Susan Price of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.