Courts & Law

Life in prison for fatal DUI crash

A SENTENCE of 23 years to life was imposed on a woman convicted of driving drunk in a traffic accident that killed two adults and injured their three young children (Shutterstock).

NEWPORT BEACH (AP) – A California woman sentenced Friday to between 21 years and life in prison for killing a mother and father and injuring their three young children in a 2020 drunk driving crash while the family was out looking at Christmas lights.

Grace Coleman, 23, was sentenced after she previously pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, driving under the influence causing great bodily injury and other charges under a court-offered plea deal, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Authorities have said Coleman was driving with a blood-alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit in December 2020 when she ran a red light and crashed into the car driven by Henry Saldana-Mejia as he took his family to see Christmas lights in the seaside community of Newport Beach.

He and his wife, Gabriela Andrade were killed and their daughters ranging in age from 1 to 5 , who were in car seats, suffered serious injuries.

“These young parents were just trying to share the magic of Christmas with their three little girls and it ended in the most horrific and completely avoidable tragedy,” District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in the statement.

Paul S. Meyer, Coleman’s attorney, said the case involves the “truly horrible results of drinking and driving.”

“We appreciate the judge’s wisdom in balancing the very sad tragedy with Grace Coleman’s age, full acceptance of responsibility and strong rehabilitation along with her year of selfless community service while in custody,” Meyer said in a statement.

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