A 25-year-old man was sentenced today to 15 years to life in state prison for driving under the influence of alcohol and killing a man who was traveling home from work, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced.
At today's sentencing, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Carlos Chung also ordered the defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $15,934.65 to the victim's family.
Deputy District Attorney Daniel Rochmes, who prosecuted the case, said on the evening of September 26, 2014, the defendant drove his 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution to the Park and Ride on Avenue S in Palmdale to meet friends. The group was taking a “party bus” to a club in Los Angeles.
According to court testimony, Brooks began drinking alcohol in the parking lot before boarding the bus and while on the bus. When the defendant arrived at the club, he continued to drink with his friends, the prosecutor added.
At the end o the night, the bus transported Brooks and his friends back to Palmdale and dropped them off at the Park and Ride. Although the defendant's friends warned him he was too drunk to drive, Brooks got into the driver's seat of his car and exited the parking lot onto Avenue S, according to the prosecutor.
As Brooks drove eastbound at high speeds, he rear-ended victim Daniel Eduardo Orellana, 21, who was stopped at a red light on his commute home from work. The impact of the collision caused Orellana's car to burst into flames and spin across the intersection, the prosecutor said.
At trial, an expert collision reconstructionist with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department testified that the defendant was driving more than 88 miles per hour when he struck the victim.
Additionally, a sheriff's department criminalist testified that Brooks' blood-alcohol level was between 0.27 percent and 0.30 percent at the time of the collision.
Furthermore, at the time of the crash, Brooks was on probation in San Diego County for alcohol-related reckless driving. He had attended court-ordered DUI education classes, which emphasized the dangers of driving under the influence, the prosecutor said.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Palmdale Station.
Los Angeles County District Attorney / case MA064589 / August 12, 2016