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Coroner: 4 members of family killed in wrong-way crash

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (AP) - Four members of a family were killed in a wrong-way freeway crash in California that also took the lives of two other people, including the sister of a woman arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and manslaughter, authorities said Monday.

Two people in a Ford Explorer - Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47, and Ester Delgado - died at the scene of Sunday's early morning crash on state Route 60, said Los Angeles County coroner's Lt. Fred Corral. Two other family members in the SUV - Leticia Ibarra, 42, and Jessica Jasmine Mejia, 20 - were declared dead at a hospital. All four were from Huntington Park.

Two additional victims were passengers in a Chevy Camaro that authorities said was driven by the suspect, Olivia Culbreath, 21, of Fontana. Her sister, Maya Louise Culbreath, 24, of Rialto and Kristin Melissa Young, 24, of Chino were declared dead at the scene, Corral said.

Wendell Johnson of Rancho Cucamonga, a friend, told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune (http://bit.ly/1egcAhY ) that Olivia Culbreath recently had a baby and the group had been on a "girls' night out" in Fullerton.

"She just had a baby," Johnson said. "I was supposed to go see her."

Olivia Culbreath remained hospitalized in serious condition and was being treated for a broken femur and a ruptured bladder. She was arrested after being pulled from the badly mangled Camaro, CHP Officer Rodrigo Jimenez said.

Culbreath had a 2010 conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol stemming from a 2009 incident and her license was pulled but it was reinstated in 2011, according to Department of Motor Vehicle records.

Jimenez said the crash scene in Diamond Bar, a suburb east of Los Angeles, was horrific. Three people were ejected from their cars and the Camaro was barely recognizable.

Authorities said Culbreath was traveling north in the southbound lanes of state Route 57 before transitioning east in the westbound lanes where the Camaro collided head-on with the Ford Explorer. A Ford Freestyle then collided with the Explorer.

Witnesses told dispatchers the Camaro was speeding up to 100 mph, he said.

Evidence gathered at the scene included an alcoholic beverage, Jimenez told the Tribune.

The driver of the Ford Freestyle suffered minor injuries.

The investigation continued Monday. CHP Sgt. Carlo Fusco said he didn't know if Culbreath had a lawyer.

A cellphone number associated with her was disconnected.

Investigators were seeking witnesses to the crash.

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rumpoint4us February 10 2014 at 6:29 PM

First, I hope that the gal who did this recovers well enough to spend the rest of her life in JAIL!

2nd, my heart and gratitude goes out to the men & women who have to investigate this awful scene. I see a lot of stupid, unnecessary comments here, but nowhere do I see any thoughts for those who are left to deal with the carnage. So, my thanks to the men & women whose services are often taken for granted. God bless you.

And to the innocent victims RIP. And may their families, friends, and loved ones find peace.

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1 reply
Kenton rumpoint4us February 10 2014 at 6:53 PM

Thank you. You are the first person to appreciate the job of those who have to clean up the wrecks and then notify the relatives that their loved one(s) will never come home. I was an accident reconstructionist for 20 years in the PD and never got used to the heart break of the moms and dads. Even got slapped in the face once.
God bless and heal the relatives of this disaster

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flbuyer1 February 10 2014 at 5:41 PM

Only a complete idiot gets behind the wheel after drinking...........

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1 reply
rodeda13 flbuyer1 February 10 2014 at 6:06 PM

She deserves the harshest possible punishment required under 'equal protection under the law'. That is: The entire coming summer to be sent at a rehab in S CA, on the coast. The best availible, At taxpayer expence. Also a WHOPPING 10 YEARS probation!!! If this cannot be called fair, nothing can. That's what that 'affluance' kid from Texas pretty much got. What he deserved was 20 years in a 'F in the A' type prison.

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cddad20 February 10 2014 at 5:38 PM

On early Sunday morning, I was driving in the oposite direction and got a first hand look at the accident. When i returned later that day, i saw that the skid marks of the accident were at the crest of a hill, therefore, they could not see each other cresting at the same time until too late. if a car is approaching you on the other side of a hill, there is no way you could have seen it approaching you.

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Nicole February 11 2014 at 1:41 AM

Why does it seem like the only people who die in drunk driving accidents include everyone EXCEPT the drunk driver?

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us118 February 10 2014 at 5:28 PM

This is heartbreaking for everyone... RIP....

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Jeff February 11 2014 at 1:50 AM

Geno…hey, that's a good idea…just need an easy retraction method for emergency vehicles, police, tow trucks, etc. Easy, inexpensive life-saving solution…good job. Mandatory breathalyzers in every vehicle?

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caburciaga February 11 2014 at 1:58 AM

Colleen: sounds like you are justifying in some way her despicable behavior, and then indicting those who have honest jobs that have to do with providing for criminals. Overwhelmingly, most of these people are hard working, honest, moral, god fearing, ethical people raising good families with good values who just happen to be employed by the penal system...someone has to care for these people when they get sent away, and you are characterizing them all as heartless, dishonest, masochists! What exactly is your point here? It's common knowledge that alcoholism is a disease..However, she is still an adult, and this tragedy was 100% avoidable had she been responsible. She is a repeat offender for god's sake!!

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1 reply
colleenjcarver caburciaga February 11 2014 at 2:11 AM

Sorry, you're wrong! One person indicated that this young woman would not face any time in California. I'll reiterate that she will suffer greatly. It's very sad that an innocent time of fun with friends celebrating the birth of her child turned into a horrific accident with the loss of many. And, I greatly empathize with families for the loss of these loved ones. However, I want to again point out that there will be no easy way out for her. She will suffer greatly for her actions. Also, we got MADD against DUIs. Why are we not doing something about alcohol and other mind- and body-altering drugs?

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3 replies
jonesje1 February 10 2014 at 5:10 PM

There are a number of countries in the world, where a driver looses their driving privilege, for the rest of their life, if the get one DUI arrest. The least we could do is take away a persons driving privilege, for life, if they cause a death while driving under the influence of alcohol, or any other drugs. There are a lot of advertisements trying to get people to stop using cell phones while driving, but 8 times as many people are killed by drivers who are drunk. Why do we continue to not take drunk driving seriously in the U.S.? It is the single largest cause of automobile fatalities, and injuries. Yet, the courts routinely let people who drink and drive off with little more than a "slap on the wrist". I'd like to, at least, see a mandatory minimum 5 year drivers license revocation for a first offense DUI, and a mandatory 5 year jail sentence if you get caught driving with a revoked license. That would still be a very light penalty, compared to many countries.

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1 reply
hanna vanhoose jonesje1 February 10 2014 at 5:31 PM

I have to totally agree with you here jonesje1. remove their drivers license and if our gov cant do that, then totally remove all the alcohol from the country. they cant do this because too many states make big money from the sale of alcohol and the taxes. the people are still the victims anyway you wrap this package up. good post

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Beverly February 10 2014 at 5:01 PM

When will people realize that they do not have the right to drive a car intoxicated with any substance,including marijuana,prescription sedatives,alcohol, etc. The penalty should be never being allowed to get behind the wheel again, because you are either in prison or dead. The young man who recently killed 4 people while driving drunk gets rehab and no prison. Afflueza defense, really? Tell that to the relatives of those he killed. It is disgusting that some people do not take responsibility for their actions and therefore threaten the lives of us all.

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1 reply
dredselw Beverly February 10 2014 at 5:09 PM

You forgot to mention cell phone users who cause deadly accidents! Should carry the same penalty as DUI!

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Jen February 10 2014 at 4:59 PM

The face of the first responder in the first picture walking away from the red Ford Explorer says it all.

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