Vegas man charged with spate of 5 freeway crashes sees trial
ORANGE COUNTY, CA – A 25-year-old man from Las Vegas was driving drunk at more than twice the legal limit and traveling at around 110 mph when he crashed into a Toyota Prius on the Santa Ana Freeway ( 5) in Irvine, setting off a chain – reaction crashes that killed a 25-year-old mother with her 6-month-old son in the backseat, a prosecutor told jurors on Tuesday.
Irving Aguilar is charged with second degree murder and six counts of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily harm, all felonies, with increased sentences for causing serious bodily harm to five victims.
“When we flirt with death, don’t be shocked when it shows up,” Senior Assistant District Attorney Dan Feldman said. “That’s what Mr. Aguilar did.
Aguilar 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 would have taken the wheel with a blood alcohol level of 0.20%, halfway between two and three times the legal limit.
“He left in his three-month-old Dodge Challenger for Las Vegas at 111 mph,” Feldman said. “By his choices, by his decisions and his actions, Mr. Aguilar unequivocally set off a chain of events whereby death would be inevitable.”
The prosecutor called it a “four-phase” series of accidents that lasted more than 12 minutes.
Aguilar, who had been fined for driving 61 mph in a 35 mph zone in Las Vegas a few weeks before the crashes, never braked as he crashed into the Prius, traveling at 108 mph southbound on the freeway near the Alton Parkway exit at 1:24 a.m. on August 23, 2018, Feldman said.
An Aguilar tow truck driver hastened to a halt when he saw the crash and helped Aguilar, who had passed out in his car, to the side of the road, Feldman said. Aguilar’s car, however, remained in the middle of the highway, the prosecutor 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 more vehicles crashed into Aguilar’s car, Feldman said. One of the drivers spoke to a 911 dispatcher who was automatically called by the car’s onboard security system, Feldman said.
The driver, while stuck in the upside down Ford Edge, recounts the cars crashing into the Challenger. The prosecutor called the jury which included the woman saying, “Oh my God, another person!”
In the final phase of the collisions, Maria Osuna, 25, of National City, was driving a Mitsubishi Spyder, one of three other vehicles that crashed into Aguilar’s vehicle and another car, Feldman said.
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.
Aguilar 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, Feldman said. Aguilar concluded he was “drunk” but “could still function,” the prosecutor said.
Aguilar’s attorney, Fred Fascenelli, said: “It really is a case of personal liability, but it is a case where personal liability ends and another person’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’s car.
“Ultimately, Ms. Osuna’s death was not a direct result of what was unleashed by Mr. Aguilar,” Fascenelli said.
He said it was a “clear night” and that there were “no obstacles other than their inattention”.