In April of this year, Felipe Navarro Orona was driving on the I-5 freeway in Anaheim at 3 a.m. He was severely intoxicated and started driving in the shoulder lane. Jose Castellanos and Joe Rodriguez were in the shoulder lane fixing a flat tire when Orona came crashing into them. Castellano died at the scene due to blunt force trauma to the head and Rodriguez was badly injured. Officers noted that Orona appeared intoxicated due to his slurred speech and bloodshot and watery eyes. Police tested his blood alcohol level two hours after the incident and his blood alcohol level was at a .15%. This is almost double the legal limit. He was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter and gross negligence while intoxicated with a sentencing enhancement for great bodily harm. He pled guilty to these charges and faces a maximum sentence of 13 years in prison.
With a legal limit at almost double the legal limit, two hours after the crash, it is hard to imagine how high his alcohol level was at the time of the accident. Being a DUI defense attorney, I often hear my client say they drove because they didn’t know they were that intoxicated. This excuse would likely not work in a case like this since anyone at a .15% or above should know they are too drunk to drive. Other possible defenses include improper blood alcohol results, road conditions and police misconduct. Whether you live in Irvine, Santa Ana or Laguna Woods, if you are charged with DUI manslaughter, call an experienced DUI defense attorney right away to assist you.