Guilty Plea Reached In Two Year DUI Case That Killed Passenger

A woman who pleaded guilty to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of alcohol in an accident that happened nearly two years ago has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles recently reported that according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, on October 13, 2017, just before 7:20 p.m., Maia Yasmine James, 22, drove her vehicle into oncoming eastbound traffic, crashing into two other cars.

The resulting crash which happened on Highway 126, just east of Fillmore ended with the death of Ornella Jones, 20, who was one of James’ passengers. The crash also left a driver with serious injuries and a 2-year-old boy with minor injuries. Two other people in the second vehicle had to be extricated by emergency crews. The 67-year old driver and his passenger also suffered minor injuries in the accident.

A blood alcohol test performed at the scene by officers of the California Highway Patrol found that at the time of the fatal crash, James had a blood alcohol level of 0.258 percent – more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Prosecutors allege that James had consumed as many as seven alcoholic beverages before getting behind the wheel and causing the crash.

On June 21, 2019, Jones pleaded guilty to the charges against her.

After her guilty plea in June and just prior to her conviction in the 2017 fatal crash, James was arrested for felony DUI in San Diego County. Authorities say that second case against James has not yet been filed.

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