SANTA ANA, Calif. – A drunken driver was charged and is scheduled to be arraigned today for the vehicular manslaughter of two children and their mother by crashing into them as they crossed the street. Nicholas Stephen Munoz, 27, Placentia, is charged with three felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated with sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 16 years in state prison. He is being held on $150,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned this morning, Aug. 23, 2016, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.
At approximately 10:20 p.m. on Aug. 20, 2016, Munoz is accused of driving down West La Jolla Street in his Placentia neighborhood under the influence of alcohol, at an unsafe speed while not paying attention. The defendant is accused of crashing into a family as they were walking across the street. The victims, 7-year-old Stephanie L., her sister, 3-year-old Diana L., and their mother, 35-year-old Patricia S., were crossing the residential street walking toward their apartment after attending a friend's party.
Two nearby Placentia Police Department (PPD) officers heard the impact and arrived at the scene. Paramedics were unable to revive the three victims, and they died at the scene as a result of injuries sustained in the collision. Munoz was arrested by PPD, who investigated this case.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 16NF2320 / August 23, 2016