A 35-year-old man was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for an alcohol-fueled, wrong-way crash on State Route 241 in Anaheim that killed a woman and her son.
Jesus Alvarado of Riverside pleaded guilty April 15 to two counts each of gross vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury and driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level exceeding the legal limit of .08.
He also admitted sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury.
Alvarado made what is known as an "open plea," so there was no guarantee he would get less than the maximum 14-year sentence, Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Feldman said. Last September, Orange County Superior Court Judge John Conley offered a plea deal with a 12-year sentence for Alvarado, which was rejected, Feldman said.
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The prosecutor said Alvarado's blood-alcohol level was measured at .19, more than twice the legal limit of .08, at a hospital after the collision, which occurred just before 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 27, 2017, on the southbound 241, just south of the Riverside (91) Freeway.
But an expert testified at the defendant's preliminary hearing that Alvarado's blood-alcohol level was actually .24 at the time of the crash.
Alvarado was behind the wheel of a 2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 that slammed head-on into a 2017 Toyota Prius driven by 70-year-old Young Yoon of Lake Forest, who was killed along with her 45-year-old son, Steve Yoon of Irvine, whose wife was three months pregnant at the time, Feldman said.
Defense attorney Rudy Loewenstein said it was a "tragedy for all involved, terribly unfortunate."
Alvarado "is incredibly remorseful," Loewenstein said. "He didn't have any prior record," the attorney said. "He's really a wonderful human being, but he made a terrible mistake and now he's paying for it."
In court papers filed last September, Loewenstein noted multiple friends and family wrote letters on his client's behalf describing Alvarado as a "devoted and loyal friend, leader and genuinely good person."
Loewenstein said the defendant grew up in Santa Ana and graduated from Santa Ana High School.
He has worked at a Newport Beach dental lab as a dental technician since high school, his attorney said. Alvarado has regularly attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings since the accident, according to his attorney, who quoted his client as saying, "I feel like a monster, like the worst person in the world. I feel like I let my family down and wasn't a good role model. I will never again drink and drive."