Anaheim Man Convicted of Murder in Drunk-Driving Crash That Killed 6-Year-Old

Anaheim Man Convicted of Murder in Drunk-Driving Crash That Killed 6-Year-Old
A man undergoes a field sobriety test before being detained at a Los Angeles Police Department DUI checkpoint in Reseda, Calif., on April 13, 2018. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)
City News Service

FULLERTON, Calif.—A 56-year-old Anaheim man was convicted of second-degree murder on June 22 in an alcohol-fueled collision that killed a 6-year-old girl in Fullerton.

Maximino Delgado Lagunas was scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 9.

Normally, prosecutors would file voluntary manslaughter charges against a defendant in a fatal drunk driving collision, but when the suspect has been previously convicted of a DUI they can have charges upgraded to second-degree murder. Lagunas was convicted of drunk driving on Dec. 11, 2015, in Buena Park.

Lagunas was convicted Wednesday in the Feb. 17, 2018, collision at 1406 Lombard Street that killed 6-year-old Grace Aguilar.

Aguilar was playing on the sidewalk when Lagunas struck her with his 1990 Toyota 4Runner at about 2:15 p.m., police said.

A blood test five hours after the crash showed he had a blood-alcohol level of .158 to .16, twice the legal limit. An expert at trial testified that it was about .22 to .23, or nearly three times the legal limit, at the time of the collision.

Lagunas told police at the scene that he had just left a work site four houses down and that his brakes were not working, police said at his preliminary hearing.

Lagunas was driving east on Gage Avenue when he attempted to turn south onto Lombard Street, but lost control and rumbled onto the sidewalk, police said. He kept going until the SUV slammed into a parked car and came to a stop, police said.