Olivia Carolee Culbreath was sentenced on December 5th, 2018 to 30 years to life in prison for the death of six individuals in a wrong way crash on the 60 freeway in Diamond Bar in 2014. The sentencing comes as a result of the open plea that was given to the court and thus leaving the sentencing in the hands of a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, rather than a negotiated plea deal.
The accident happened in the early hours of February 9th, 2014. Culbreath, after having drinks at a bar in Fullerton, drove against traffic on the 57 and 60 freeways in Diamond Bar. Her Chevy Camaro collided head-on with a Ford Explorer, killing all four of the vehicle’s occupants: Huntington Park residents Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47; Leticia Ibarra, 42; their daughter, Jessica Mejia, 20; and her grandmother, Ester Delgado, 80. Culbreath’s 24-year-old sister, Maya, and one of Culbreath’s friends, Kristin Young, 21, of Chino, also died in the crash, leaving Culbreath the only survivor of the deadly crash–although with significant injuries of her own. Her first appearance in court had her brought in by stretcher and continuing to receive treatment in the jail ward for her injuries. She was brought in by wheelchair for later hearings.
Nearly three hours after the crash, Culbreath’s blood alcohol content was found to be at 0.15 percent, almost twice that of the legal limit. She had just given birth 11 days before the crash and had spent the days following the birth suffering from postpartum depression.
During the sentencing hearing, she apologized for her actions through tears and was heard saying she asks God for forgiveness every single day. Her attorneys describe her as “extremely remorseful.” And that she had “insisted on pleading no contest to try and spare the victims’ families more pain without the case going to trial.”
The judge took into account that Culbreath was convicted of a DUI in 2010 and had been formally warned by the court regarding the dangers of drunk driving. Her driver’s license had been suspended after the 2010 conviction and had been reinstated December 2011. This conviction was what allowed the prosecutors to charge her with murder for the Diamond Bar crash. The judge rejected the defense’s request for the minimum sentence of 15 to life, however, since Culbreath was 21 at the time of the incident, she will be eligible for parole after 25 years.
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