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03/13

Woman Kills Six in Head-On Crash; Charged With Murder

Posted by: Jack Bernstein

A woman who killed six people in a wrong-way, head-on crash on a southern California freeway has been charged with murder. Olivia Culbreath, 21, from Fontana, was charged with six counts of murder in connection with the crash that killed her sister and five other people, according to recent reports. While this is not a Nevada car crash, it does illustrate what happens when a major accident occurs and the driver is charged with a crime.

A Horrible Crash

The crash that killed six people and left Culbreath hospitalized with a broken femur and ruptured bladder resulted from both speed and a possible DUI. Witnesses said that the young woman’s vehicle was traveling up to 100 miles per hour in an easterly direction in the westbound lanes of State Route 60 in Diamond Bar when she crashed head-on into a Ford Explorer. The wreckage and bodies were described as covering the freeway before the Explorer was hit by a Ford Freestyle.

The list of victims is chilling. Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47; Ester Delgado, 80; Leticia Ibarra, 42; Jessica Jasmine Mejia, 20; Maya Louis Culbreath, 24; and Kristin Melissa Young, 24, all died in the accident. Most were declared dead at the scene; Ibarra and Mejia were pronounced dead after being transported to a hospital. The four people in the Explorer were all members of the same family.

The Freestyle’s driver, Joel Cortez, 57, was the only survivor besides Culbreath. An alcoholic beverage was found at the scene but officials have not yet charged Culbreath. They are reserving the right to enter more charges, however, depending on the outcome of the investigation into the crash. Culbreath has a previous conviction for DUI when she was 17. She had her license reinstated in 2011. She is the mother of a newborn child, as well.

Personal Injury and Criminal Charges

A criminal case is often opened when it is clear someone has broken the law. However, the criminal prosecution of the driver will not pay the victim’s damages or compensate their families for loss.

In order to recover damages from a car accident, you must usually retain a personal injury attorney, even if the other driver is charged with a crime. Bernstein & Poisson are ready to help you recover compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering and other costs related to an accident.

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