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Statements begin in drunk-driving-death trial

ABC7 Eyewitness News HD covering Los Angeles and Southern California.

September 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Opening statements were set to begin Tuesday afternoon in the drunk driving case of a Santa Ana man charged with killing a pedestrian and injuring another driver in a car cash.Prosecutors say Joel Torrejon Miranda, 42, has three previous convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol. Miranda is charged with one felony count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, with prior convictions and a sentencing enhancement for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter.

Miranda could face 20 years to life in state prison if he's convicted.

Authorities say on Feb. 1, 2009, Miranda was driving southbound on Newhope St. in Santa Ana in his Chevrolet pickup truck when he suddenly made a left turn across the northbound lanes in oncoming traffic.

Nguyen Tran, 36, was driving northbound and hit his brakes, but was unable to stop.

After the collision, Miranda's truck climbed the curb and he's accused of hitting a pedestrian, Francisco Aquino, 44.

Miranda is accused of fleeing the scene, leaving his two passengers in the truck.

Aquino was taken to UCI Medical Center with severe head injuries. He died two days later. Tran suffered minor injuries to his arm and back.

Officers responding to the scene found several opened beer containers in Miranda's truck.

Miranda was found at his home about 40 minutes after the crash.

About an hour and a half after the crash, Miranda allegedly tested with a blood alcohol level of .23, almost three times the legal limit.


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