For those who get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, the price for drinking and driving can be high. Not only do they take the chance of getting into an accident, facing arrest, fines, and loss of license, they also can end up harming themselves and others.
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That has proven to be the case for Bernardo Alvarez Zalpa, 51, of Costa Mesa, after he pleaded guilty to the felony charges against him for his role in an accident two years ago. The Orange County Register reports that a judge has sentenced Bernardo Alvarez Zalpa to nearly seven years in prison after entering a guilty plea.
At approximately 6:00 p.m. on December 4, 2018, Zalpa was heading southbound on the 55 Freeway just north of Del Mar Avenue when he veered his 2002 Honda Accord across several lanes of traffic and crashed into a 2017 Mini Cooper.
Zalpa then crashed his Honda into a 1997 Toyota 4Runner in a secondary crash. The force of impact caused the Toyota SUV to overturn, and 48-year-old Jose Olguin of Orange was ejected from his vehicle and onto the freeway.
After hitting the Toyota, Zalpa exited the 55 Freeway at the Victoria Street exit ramp. Costa Mesa Police were later able to apprehend Zalpa until California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers arrived.
The 41-year-old driver of the Mini Cooper was uninjured in the multi-vehicle accident while emergency crews responding to the crash pronounced Olguin dead at the scene.
According to court documents filed by the officers with the CHP, Zalpa had been driving with a blood alcohol level that was higher than the legal limit of 0.08%.
Zalpa pleaded guilty to the charges of vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol without gross negligence, hit-and-run, inflicting great bodily harm, failure to render aid, and other related charges.
A judge at the Justice Center in Westminster has sentenced Zalpa to six years and four months in prison.