Las Vegas man gets 15 lifetimes in fatal DUI accident in Irvine

SANTA ANA (CNS) – A 25-year-old Las Vegas man was sentenced today to 15 years in life for starting an alcohol-fueled chain reaction on the Santa Ana (5) highway in Irvine who killed a young mother and injured her 6 month old son.

Irving Aguilar-Calixto, who turns 26 on Tuesday, was convicted on November 2 of second degree murder and one count of impaired driving causing bodily harm with increased penalties for inflicting serious bodily harm to five victims.

Orange County Superior Court judge Gary Paer could have sentenced Aguilar-Calixto to an additional 18 years in prison, but ruled 17 years and applied that sentence along with the 15 life sentence. He said the main factor in this decision was the accused’s lack of criminal history.

“He doesn’t have any previous records and that’s huge,” Paer said.

The judge also noted that he had received a letter from the pastor of the accused and others attesting to his character.

“He seems like a decent guy,” Paer said. “But it’s an example of how bad things can happen to good people, and how an error in judgment can change your whole life. “

Paer also noted the unusual circumstances of the crime, including the fact that the victim was not struck by the accused’s car.

“It started a chain of events that resulted in the death of a young mother,” Paer said. “This is a clear example of the dangers of drinking and driving. Nothing good comes out of drinking and driving, especially when you’re driving 100mph. ”

The only happy thing to come out of the crash series is that the number of fatal victims was limited to one, Paer said.

“When we flirt with death, don’t be shocked when it does show up,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Feldman said in his opening statement for the trial. “That’s what Mr. Aguilar-Calixto did. “

Aguilar-Calixto traveled to Orange County to hang out with friends and spend the night in an Airbnb in Anaheim, but instead decided to head home in his new Dodge Challenger, Feldman said. He drove with a blood alcohol level of 0.20%, halfway between two and three times the legal limit.

“If he was sleeping in this house, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Paer said on Friday during the sentencing.

The prosecutor called it a “four-phase” series of accidents that lasted more than 12 minutes.

Aguilar-Calixto, who had been fined for driving 61mph in a 35mph zone in Las Vegas a few weeks before the crashes, never braked as he crashed into a Prius, traveling at 108mph in direction south on the freeway near the Alton Parkway exit at 1:24 a.m. on August 23, 2018, Feldman said.

A tow truck driver pulled over when he saw the crash and tried to help Aguilar-Calixto, whose broken-down car blocked high-traffic and busy lanes, Feldman said.

The Prius driver managed “ on three tires ” to get off the road, Feldman said. The Challenger was in a “dark stretch of the highway” with its lights off, Feldman said.

Another driver of a Dodge van ducked into a center bulkhead to avoid the broken down car, Feldman said.

Then three other vehicles crashed into Aguilar-Calixto’s car. One of the drivers spoke to a 911 dispatcher who was automatically called by the car’s on-board security system. The driver, while stuck in the upside down Ford Edge, said the cars crashed into the Challenger. The prosecutor passed the call to the jurors which included the woman saying, “Oh my God, another person! “

In the final phase of the collisions, Maria Osuna, 25, of National City, was behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Spyder, one of three other vehicles that crashed into Aguilar-Calixto’s vehicle and another car, said Feldman.

After crashing into the car, she pulled over and unbuckled her seat belt to check on her baby’s condition when a van overturned her vehicle, killing her, Feldman said. Her son suffered fractures to his skull and neck.

Another diver sustained a fractured vertebra, another suffered a broken nose, another suffered a concussion, and another victim fractured her ankle and nose.

Aguilar-Calixto admitted to agents of the California Highway Patrol that he knew drunk driving was bad and dangerous and even thought he had to stop drinking in order to get home, said Feldman. Aguilar-Calixto concluded he was “drunk” but “could still function,” the prosecutor said.

Aguilar-Calixto lawyer Fred Fascenelli said: “This is really a personal liability case, but it is a case where personal liability ends and someone else’s liability begins. . “

The defense attorney admitted that his client “drove drunk and was involved in an accident which he caused”, but said the chain of events was “broken” when others “inattentive” drivers crashed into Aguilar-Calixto’s car. .

“Ultimately, Ms. Osuna’s death is not the direct result of what was unleashed by Mr. Aguilar-Calixto,” Fascenelli said.

He said it was a “clear night” and that there was “no other obstruction other than their inattention”.

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