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Alleged wrong-way driver faces six murder counts

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A woman whom police say drove the wrong way on a Southern California freeway, sparking a deadly head-on crash that killed her sister and five others, was charged Thursday with six counts of murder, Los Angeles County prosecutors said.

Olivia Culbreath, 21, of Fontana, could face up to life in prison if convicted.

Culbreath's bail was set at $6 million. but she remained hospitalized with a broken femur and ruptured bladder suffered in Sunday's crash east of Los Angeles.

It was unclear when Culbreath would be able to appear in court. District attorney's spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said she did not immediately know whether Culbreath had obtained an attorney.

Witnesses said Culbreath's car may have been traveling at up to 100 mph eastbound in the westbound lanes of State Route 60 in Diamond Bar 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.

Two people in the Explorer - Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47, and Ester Delgado, 80 - died at the scene, county coroner's Lt. Fred Corral said. Two others - Leticia Ibarra, 42, and Jessica Jasmine Mejia, 20 - were declared dead at a hospital. All four were from the same Huntington Park family.

Drunk Driver Charged With 6 Counts Of Murder

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.

Police have said they found an alcoholic beverage at the crash scene, but prosecutors didn't file charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. However, the investigation continued and additional charges could be filed, Ardalani said.

Culbreath, the mother of a newborn boy, 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 Department of Motor Vehicle records.

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Ben Harper February 13 2014 at 9:26 PM

NO trial for the dead, no trial for the "DWI guilty" put her ass in prison for LIFE.

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1 reply
potmind Ben Harper February 13 2014 at 9:45 PM

She killed more people than the Boston bombers! And they are going to give her probation? Methinks not.

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kim February 13 2014 at 9:06 PM

this **** has been drunk driving since her teens

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b2ran February 13 2014 at 9:03 PM

She killed six people just the same as if she had shot them. The weapon was her drunk ass and her car. They need to bury her on the six charges.

The other tragedy is her newborn boy will have a mother in prison. If she had been home with him where she should have been, this wouldn't have happened. I guess he will have a better life without her.

The miracle is that the driver of the Ford Freestyle survived with only minor injuries. Unfortunately, he has to live with the fact that six of his friends or relatives died.

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1 reply
backmassage808 b2ran February 13 2014 at 9:11 PM

I think you should reread the article. I don't think he knew anyone that passed away. The Explorer was hit by his vehicle after the Explorer was first hit by Camaro

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aristocracyrules February 13 2014 at 9:00 PM

Alcohol is an epidemic in our country now. Beer and distilled liquor commercials make drinking out to be the only way to be cool or have fun. Hell, Hoda and Kathy Lee were doing shots on the Today show this morning. They drink wine everyday. At 10:00am. Why wouldn't America think it's okay?

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mark52947 February 13 2014 at 8:57 PM

Can her lawyer use the affluenza defense? She killed six people under the influence of alcohol and she had previous run ins for DWI. She didn't learn her lesson she took six lives, including her own sister. Off to state prison for 30 or 40 years at least.

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dawn February 13 2014 at 8:56 PM

21 (presumably unmarried) with a newborn, and a previous DUI conviction. What a shock. Who the hell was watching the baby so she could go out and party?

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jcljoyner February 13 2014 at 8:55 PM

Its bad to see young people die, and a life that will never be the same again. my prayers go out to the people that died and the broken hearts that are left behind . But let me say this a rich kid in texas killed four and got a trip to a rich rehab . This young lady will not have a chance to get rehab,
justice for some people but not for all people. We must have rules that apply for everyone.

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2 replies
gblatham jcljoyner February 13 2014 at 9:07 PM

Fine; let's create a set of rules which apply equally, across the board.

Send 'em BOTH to the death chamber!

Problem solved.

Garl B. Latham

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amgabriel jcljoyner February 13 2014 at 9:11 PM

I'm not saying that the kid in Texas should have got off, but he was 16. This woman was 21 and had a previous DUI offense.

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speedsdaname February 13 2014 at 8:54 PM

What I do not understand is how the person who creates all the trouble always lives and everyone else dies...Makes no sense...

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dboyne February 13 2014 at 8:54 PM

I think she just got a BIG wake-up call. A bit late.

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1 reply
salonea dboyne February 13 2014 at 9:07 PM

a real wake up call so so sad.

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Mike February 13 2014 at 8:54 PM

In the U.S. There are about 30,000 deaths a year from motor vehicles and over 2,000,000 injuries. That's stats from 2011 US Dept. Trans. NHTS. It is one of the most dangerous things you encounter in life. Keep this in mind the next time you drive.

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