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Olivia Culbreath, driver arrested in Calif. deadly crash, had previous DUI



DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (AP) -- A 21-year-old woman arrested for investigation of drunk driving and manslaughter after a crash that killed six people had her license suspended as a teenager for driving under the influence, according to state Department of Motor Vehicle records.

Olivia Culbreath of Fontana, who was badly injured in Sunday's crash, was hospitalized in stable condition.

She was arrested after being pulled from the mangled Camaro she had been driving the wrong way on a Southern California freeway before dawn Sunday, said California Highway Patrol Officer Rodrigo Jimenez.

Driver Arrested In Crash That Killed 6 Had Previous DUI

Witnesses said Culbreath's car may have been traveling at up to 100 mph eastbound in the westbound lanes of State Route 60 when it collided head-on with a Ford Explorer, hurling wreckage and bodies onto the freeway. The Explorer was then hit by a Ford Freestyle.

Culbreath, the mother of a newborn, suffered a broken femur and ruptured bladder. Her older sister was among those killed.

Authorities said they found an alcoholic beverage at the scene of the crash, which happened in Diamond Bar, a bedroom community 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

Two people in the Explorer - Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47, and Ester Delgado - died at the scene, county coroner's Lt. Fred Corral said. Two other family members in the vehicle - Leticia Ibarra, 42, and Jessica Jasmine Mejia, 20 - were declared dead at a hospital. All four were from Huntington Park. Delgado's age was not available.

Culbreath's sister, Maya Louise Culbreath, 24, of Rialto, and another Camaro passenger, Kristin Melissa Young, 24, of Chino, died at the scene, Corral said.

The Ford Freestyle's driver, Joel Cortez, 57, of La Puente, was treated for minor injuries.

Culbreath's family was still trying to cope with the tragedy, her grandmother, Carole Phillips, told The Associated Press on Monday evening.

"They won't let us see her," Phillips said by telephone. "We're just devastated because of the loss of the others, too. It's just too much."

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

Neighbors in Fontana told the paper that Culbreath had given birth to a son in late January.

Culbreath had a 2010 conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol stemming from a 2009 incident when she was 17. Her license was pulled, but it was reinstated in 2011, according to DMV records.

However, Octavio Castellanos, a neighbor of Culbreath, told the Tribune he rarely saw her drinking before she became pregnant and added that she didn't drink at all during the pregnancy.

"You wouldn't think she would do something like that," said his brother, Andretti Castellanos. "She was the type of girl that never got into trouble."

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antique.oyster February 12 2014 at 9:50 PM

If she were in Florida and got DUI as a teen here, she would taking the bus. Drink and drive in Fl and see what happens. Cali is a joke, they want the fine money. Don't care about nothing else. I don't even know these people and I can't sleep. They say when you die that quick and violent, your soul wonders the earth. Better watch out Olivia...

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Helen February 12 2014 at 9:43 AM

Idiot, she deserves full punishment, now we have booze and pot drivers to contend with on the road!!!

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rollinsnowman360 February 12 2014 at 5:02 AM

There are people sitting in prison for smokin some weed and the only thing they killed were a few taco's

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rollinsnowman360 February 12 2014 at 4:54 AM

DWI at 17 ????? Felony !!!!!!!!

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Jomstead31 February 12 2014 at 1:41 AM

First, I feel no pity for the driver who caused the accident. Nor do I feel any pity for the people who got into the car with her - they knew they had been out and drinking. Serious lack of personal responsibility on everyone's part (in that vehicle).

Second, I do feel pity for the innocent who were injured and killed and for their families. If the on the books DUI laws are week, maybe their families can help use this case to get them improved. You can't bring back the loved ones you lose, but you can use the senseless accident that occurred as a mean of affecting change. (I am certain that is no solace to the families of the victims now, but it might help in the future. )

Third, it is way past time for California (and all the other states as well) to review and revamp the consequences of drinking and driving. Most the laws regarding DUI are old laws with various additions as times have changed. Vehicles have changed, engineering has changed and it is time for the consequences to keep pace with science and technology. Today's vehicles are significantly different than in the past.

Medical technology and research has clearly determined the effects that alcohol, weed, and other drugs and medicines have on drivers. Currently we are in the process of determining new dose levels for male vs. female due to new research data.

Time marches forward and the "under the influence" laws need to be rewritten for today's world. Not added to, but replaced. It is time. And as those laws are rewritten, careful attention needs to be paid to the details: first offense or second offense, property damage and/or injury and/or deaths - how much damage, how great the injury, how many died.......etc. All of these factors and more need to be carefully laid out. With great detail. Yes, judges need to be allowed some discretion in sentencing, but how much? Or, how little.

Just some food for thought.

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cralanjosmom February 12 2014 at 1:11 AM

Let's see what HER sentence is. I GUARANTEE you it won't be that of the "Affluenza brat" that killed 4 people in Texas!! SMH. My condolences to the families of all involved.

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Dead Wrong February 12 2014 at 12:54 AM

I Really Hate it when I hear of a drunk wrong way driver hitting someone head on Killing others but the ONE that should be dead.. Lives.

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emthepoet February 12 2014 at 12:32 AM

"You wouldn't think she would do something like that," said his brother, Andretti Castellanos. "She was the type of girl that never got into trouble."


Except of course the previous DIU

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1 reply to emthepoet's comment
jaluty February 12 2014 at 3:21 AM

Exactly what I was thinking. Thank you.

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DOUG February 12 2014 at 12:03 AM

Well here's hoping for a long, long prison term. The Ho-Bag killed 6. The booze hag needs about 50 years or more to "Dry Out".

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steve February 12 2014 at 12:00 AM

She should not have gotten her license until she was 21 years of age as a punishment, and with a 5 year ten parole. Over 34,000 people have died in auto accidents, which is more than those killed in the two stupid wars.,Iraq and Afghanistan. But if she has big bucks, she could only get 10 years probation here in Texas.

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