|For Immediate Release
Case # 11NF0257
December 16, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
WRONG-WAY FREEWAY DRUNKEN DRIVER SENTENCED TO 13 YEARS IN PRISON FOR KILLING TWO PEOPLE IN HEAD-ON CRASH
SANTA ANA – A wrong-way freeway drunken driver was sentenced yesterday to 13 years in state prison for killing two people by causing a head-on crash. Anthony Louis Fragoso, 22, South Gate, pleaded guilty Dec. 15, 2011, to one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated and a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury.
At approximately 12:50 a.m. on Jan. 19, 2011, Fragoso was driving under the influence of alcohol at a high rate of speed in the wrong direction in the carpool lane of California State Route 91 in Anaheim. Fragoso drove his Mercedes-Benz sedan into oncoming traffic and crashing head-on into a Toyota Scion, killing driver Alan Reyes, 25, and passenger Vanessa Cease, 24. The force of the collision propelled Reyes out of the driver’s seat and into the third lane of the freeway. Cease remained in the passenger seat with her seatbelt on. They were both pronounced dead at the scene.
Numerous witnesses called 911 to report the wrong-way driver. An off-duty Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy witnessed the events and estimated the defendant’s speed at 85 miles per hour. Another witness, a former sheriff’s deputy from Arizona, also witnessed the incident and estimated the defendant’s speed at 85-90 miles per hour.
Fragoso was transported to University of California, Irvine Medical Center for major traumatic injuries. At the hospital, his blood alcohol content was .22 percent, almost three times the legal limit.
At the sentencing yesterday, eight members from both families gave victim impact statements. Cease’s mother said her granddaughter Jordan, Cease’s daughter, likes the Dumbo ride at Disneyland because she can be closer to her mommy in heaven. Reyes’ mother wrote a statement because she was too distraught to speak. In her written statement, she says that her family room, which was once filled with the sounds of life and laughter from both victims and Jordan, is now silent and unbearable.
The two victims planned to marry. Cease worked part -time in a dental office while she was going to school. Reyes was due to graduate this past June to become a radiology technician. Cease left behind her 3-year-old daughter, Jordan.
The California Highway Patrol investigated this case.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Alison Gyves of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.