A 27-year-old Pomona woman pleaded guilty Friday and was immediately sentenced to 14 years and eight months in prison for a drunken driving, hit-and-run crash in Anaheim that killed three men.
Cynthia Lizbeth Ayala accepted a plea deal from Orange County Superior Court Judge Gassia Apkarian. She could have faced up to 21 years and eight months in prison if convicted at trial.
Ayala killed 32-year-old Jacob Rolon of La Mirada, 36-year-old Richard Zuniga of Anaheim and 63-year-old Alexander Smiller of Los Angeles in a May 4, 2021 crash at Brookhurst Street and Orange Avenue.
Officers responded to the crash at about 2:50 a.m. and found a white Mercedes-Benz sedan abandoned and a black Kia with the three victims inside, all of whom were pronounced dead at the scene, Anaheim Police Department Sgt. Shane Carringer said in May.
Witnesses saw two women in their 20s get out of the Mercedes-Benz and into another vehicle, Carringer said. The women later went to an area hospital, where one was treated for minor injuries and the other was more seriously hurt and required surgery, Carringer said.
The criminal complaint said Ayala’s blood-alcohol level was at .218.
The Mercedes-Benz was moving northbound on Brookhurst Street when it slammed into the Kia, which was exiting the parking lot of a hookah lounge, Carringer said. The Mercedes-Benz caught fire, but it was a small blaze that an officer on scene extinguished.
Ayala pleaded guilty to three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and single counts each of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08% causing injury and hit and run with permanent and serious injury, all felonies.
Ayala also admitted sentencing enhancements for fleeing the scene after committing vehicular manslaughter.
Source: Orange County Register