SANTA ANA, Calif.—A twice-convicted drunk driver was charged with murder Nov. 16 for allegedly driving under the influence in a crash that killed two people on the Santa Ana (I-5) Freeway in Irvine, California.
Jorge ErastoCruz, 33, of Lake Forest, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, and a count of DUI with a blood-alcohol level at 0.08 percent or higher causing injury, all felonies. He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended or revoked license due to DUI.
He was on probation for two DUIs in 2019, according to court records. He was held on a $1 million bail in Orange County Jail, according to jail records.
Twenty-five-year-old Alice Read, of San Diego, and an unidentified man were killed in the crash, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Todd Hylton.
The crash occurred about 2:10 a.m. on Nov. 14 on the freeway north of Yale Avenue in the southbound lanes, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP).
Shalaya A. Sierra, 23, of San Diego, was driving a 2016 black Honda Civic, which stopped on the right shoulder of the freeway. A man exited the black Honda for an unknown reason, CHP Officer Florentino Olivera told The Epoch Times.
As the man was walking back to the black Honda, ErastoCruz, who was driving a 2004 black GMC Yukon, veered off the road to the right, where he crashed into the rear of the black Honda, according to Olivera.
As a result of this collision, Read, who was seated in the middle rear of the black Honda, sustained fatal injuries while the man, whose identity is not yet released, was pushed into the path of a Kia Optima, which ran him over, Olivera said. The Kia Optima driver’s identity was not released.
The man was determined dead at the scene, and Read was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, according to the CHP report on the incident.
ErastoCruz pleaded guilty July 31, 2019, to two misdemeanor DUIs in Orange County, which occurred on Oct. 18, 2018, and Dec. 30, 2018. He was placed on five years of informal probation as a result.
The prior DUI convictions could be used by prosecutors to upgrade any charges from manslaughter to second-degree murder under state law.
Information provided by CHP Officer Florentino Olivera is a correction on CHP’s Nov. 14 news release.
City News Service contributed to this article.