Three Teens Killed After Alleged Drunk Driver Rear-Ends Their Vehicle, Driver Charged With Murder

A trial involving a DUI driver involved in a multiple fatality crash in March of 2018 has just gotten underway in Huntington Beach last week.

Patch.com reports that Bani Marcela Duarte, 29, of San Clemente is on trial after a night of bar hopping, consuming high amounts of alcohol and crashing her vehicle into the rear end of a Toyota Camry, killing three teens and leaving a fourth with second-degree burns. Duarte is now facing three counts of second-degree murder.

Official records indicate that Duarte had gone out and consumed what Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Feldman described to the court as “an unfathomable amount” of alcohol” before the fatal crash.

After leaving Baja Sharkeez in Newport Beach, Duarte got into her vehicle and headed northbound was heading northbound but was so intoxicated she believed she was heading southbound toward home. Three eyewitnesses in a Jeep spotted the defendant and dialed 911 to report Duarte’s erratic driving.

When turning onto Pacific Coast Highway, Duarte managed to crash the passenger side of her vehicle against the curb. She got out in order to inspect the damage she did to her car and then got back into her vehicle and continued driving. The three eyewitnesses in the Jeep told the court that the defendant had appeared “beyond intoxicated” and had been burping and staggering. The eyewitnesses had still been on their cellphone with 911 dispatch when the fatal crash occurred at a red light at Magnolia Street at approximately 1:00 a.m.

Duarte was arrested by Orange County Sheriff’s deputies and was found to have a blood-alcohol level of 0.28 percent; which is more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Court documents indicate that Duarte has had an additional DUI arrest after an incident in 2016 where she was found to have been driving with a BAC level of 0.17 percent.

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