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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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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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mktoptplay February 13 2014 at 8:37 PM

Makes me sick to my stomach. People like her allowed to be part of society. She doesn't deserve to have the same benefits productive members of society have! Apparently raised like a animal! Where were her parents and discipline when she got her 1st DUI and then getting pregnant...and apparently not wed??? What kind of person goes 100 miles per hour at 4 AM, DRUNK with a newborn baby at home? I blame her parents for poor upbringing!!! Not knowing right from wrong...or caring??? How do we weed these kinda people out before they kill others and ruin innocent peoples lives?

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1 reply
ratieroo mktoptplay February 13 2014 at 8:40 PM

What gets me is they think that's normal......totally disfunctional

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lisa_mackin February 13 2014 at 8:34 PM

This whole situation is just so wrong on every level. 7 people just lost their lives, and all of them preventable. Someone not caring enough about their own child to be safe and responsible, not caring enough about her friends and neighbors to be safe and responsible, and not even caring whether or not she, or any one for that matter, had a future. Thats it in a nut shell. Its not about politics, race, right or wrong. Some one made a stupid, careless decision and others paid the price. So, lets make it instead, about learning from this tragedy, gaining the courage it takes to confront, act, and speak out....anything it takes to keep the next person too out of it to be able to make a good decision, from getting behind the wheel. Man, hard to comprehend what all the families involved are going through right now. Count your blessings.

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1 reply
Taxi Talk lisa_mackin February 13 2014 at 8:40 PM

Well, she sure has a future now !!! Like.. 10 - 15 at least....

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1 reply
Lovingwater Taxi Talk February 13 2014 at 8:49 PM

If that. Watch her lawyer throw in everything but the kitchen sink to plead this down. Race card, too, and don't be surprised.

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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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Chief February 13 2014 at 8:30 PM

The situation is sad from every view point.

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Phyllis February 14 2014 at 7:54 AM

I still say they should have taken her butt to the morgue and watch what went on when each body came in and was prepared for the ending ceremony. Then make her work in the morgue for a year not be able to go home afterwards but back to jail. Of cours this will not happen but I can only wish. I hope she never has another sleeping moment that is peaceful, and I do hope she is maimed in some way. Lock her arse up for ever.

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1 reply
Anne Boleyns Crown Phyllis February 14 2014 at 8:51 AM

It would be good if that were used the first time anyone received a dui. The should have to speak to the families on a weekly basis to see their pain and grief...also a life sentence and those folks did nothing wrong. I don't think physically hurting her would be my avenue. People change more when they mentally understand.

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Ken & Rosie February 14 2014 at 7:58 AM

Remember recent Texas crap-courts/attorneys keep letting them go and then they murder people. Odds she gets life very slim, probably more like five years. Victims families ruined forever.

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2 replies
oldalto Ken & Rosie February 14 2014 at 8:24 AM

What's Texas got to do with this? It was in California, it appears. Will you be trashing California, too, in your future posts, or just Texas? (I am not a Texan, by the way, just someone who likes logic.)

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dedndogyrs Ken & Rosie February 14 2014 at 8:52 AM

She's being charged with six counts of second degree murder. I would be very surprised if she's home in five years.

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dredselw February 13 2014 at 8:28 PM

Cell phones users who cause fatalities should be prosecute the same as DUI drivers. The victims are just as dead.

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g999s February 14 2014 at 8:06 AM

Execute.

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steves777 February 14 2014 at 8:07 AM

This is just sad.

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