A 35-year-old man faces 14 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, 35, of Riverside pleaded guilty Monday 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's no guarantee he will get less than the maximum 14-year sentence.
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He could get as little as four years in prison, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Feldman. The prosecutor asked Orange County Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Macias to have Alvarado immediately taken into custody, but the judge allowed the defendant to remain free on bail pending his June 14 sentencing.
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.
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 did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but in court papers filed last September, he 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."