Southern California

Woman Gets Year in Jail, Probation in Fatal Distracted Driving Crash

A woman who was texting and chatting on her cellphone before she slammed her car into the back of an idling car on an Orange County freeway, killing the 23-year-old driver, has been sentenced to a year in jail and three year's probation.

Jorene Ypano Nicolas, of San Diego, was sentenced at a court hearing on July 14.

She had been sentenced in 2015 to six years in prison, but an appeals court overturned her case after finding the trial court made instructional errors that lowered the prosecution's burden of proof.

Nicolas was accused of sending 13 text messages in the 15 minutes before the April 27, 2011 crash on the San Diego (405) Freeway in Westminster and answered a phone call just before the impact, killing Deanna Mauer, a former San Jose State Spartan softball pitcher.

At her sentencing, Nicolas tearfully apologized to Deanna Mauer's family.

"The thought of you not being with your daughter is absolutely killing me every day,'' she said. "From the bottom of my heart, from the bottom of my pain, I'm sorry you can't physically be with your daughter anymore.''

The victim's mother spoke directly to Nicolas in court in 2015 and said her decision to text and drive destroyed their family's lives.

"You've not only killed my daughter but you've killed me," Dawn Mauer said.

"The light of my life has gone out, and I fumble in the darkness," father Howard Mauer said.

"I'll never see the remarkable woman she could have become," he said. "I'll never hold her children. But I miss her and always will."

Nicolas was convicted Aug. 13, 2015 of gross vehicular manslaughter, in her second trial.

Nicolas' attorney, Joe Dane, questioned the accuracy of the computer data from the car and suggested Mauer may have caused the crash.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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