Driver hit car at over 100mph, prosecutor says, triggering chain reaction crashes that killed woman – Orange County Register
A driver in Las Vegas intoxicated crashed into another vehicle on the 5 Freeway in Irvine at over 100mph, triggering a chain reaction of collisions that ultimately killed a mother, said Tuesday a juror at the start of a murder trial.
Irving Abel Aguilar-Calixto, 26, faces multiple second degree murder and impaired driving charges for a series of chain crashes on Southbound 5 near the 405 interchange in Irvine on August 23 2018, in which Maria, 24, Osuna was killed and five others, including Osuna’s baby, were injured.
During opening statements in a courtroom in Santa Ana, it was not disputed that Aguilar-Calixto was driving under the influence and struck another vehicle. The question for jurors will be whether he was responsible for the series of highway collisions that followed, including the fatal crash.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Dan Feldman told jurors Aguilar-Calixto drank with friends at an Airbnb in Anaheim when he decided to return home to Las Vegas in his three-month-old Dodge Challenger. The prosecutor said Aguilar-Calixto’s blood alcohol level was more than double the legal limit for driving, and noted that shortly after Aguilar-Calixto left, his friends called him and him. asked to come back, telling him he was too drunk to drive.
“When you flirt with death, don’t be too surprised when it shows up,” Feldman said. “That’s what Mr. Aguilar did.”
Aguilar-Calixto was accelerating on what he thought was Freeway 15 toward Vegas, but what was actually 5 southbound, when he crashed into a Prius without braking at 108 miles per hour, took declared the prosecutor. The collision happened overnight in part of the highway with relatively little light, the prosecutor added.
The Prius driver apparently was able to move his vehicle to the side of the freeway, but Aguilar-Calixto’s disabled charger, with its lights off, blocked a freeway lane.
The driver of a Dodge Van swerved to avoid the Charger, hitting a median freeway and then blocking the HOV lane, the prosecutor said. Three other vehicles then struck the Challenger, including an SUV that overturned upon entering the freeway divider, landing upside down.
“I just heard from another person (accident) – oh my god another person,” the driver of the upside down vehicle told a dispatcher as she described the growing series of accidents in a recorded call played before the tribunal. “I’m afraid someone will hit me. Oh my God, another person, oh.
At this point, five vehicles were deactivated on the highway, debris was strewn on the roadway and the occupants of the vehicles were running for their lives, the prosecutor said.
Another vehicle braked sharply to avoid hitting the Charger, and Osuna blocked them from behind. The mother removed her seat belt in order to watch her baby in the back seat when her vehicle was hit by another car, killing her.
Feldman told jurors that during a conversation with a CHP officer after the crashes, Aguilar-Calixto admitted knowing that driving while intoxicated was dangerous. For a second degree murder conviction in a fatal traffic accident, prosecutors must prove directly that a defendant knew what he was doing was dangerous to human life and decided to do it anyway.
“I was drunk, obviously, but it wasn’t like a sloppy drunkard,” Aguilar-Calixto said in the taped conversation. “I was drunk but I could still function.”
Aguilar-Calixto lawyer Frederick Fascenelli admitted that Aguilar-Calixto drove drunk and caused an accident, but denied being responsible for the collisions that followed, including the accident that resulted in Osuna’s death. It was a clear night, with nothing obstructing the view of the various drivers on the roadway, the defense attorney said, noting that 12 minutes separated the initial collision from the fatal crash.
“This is really a case of personal responsibility, but it’s about the point where one personal responsibility ends and another personal responsibility begins,” Fascenelli said.