A 33-year-old man pleaded guilty Friday to a Santa Ana crash that killed a work colleague and was immediately sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The plea deal comes almost two months since a mistrial was declared when jurors could not reach a verdict in his trial. As part of the plea deal, a second-degree murder charge, which would have meant a 15-years-to life sentence if he had been convicted in another trial, was dismissed.
Anthony Escalera was behind the wheel in the Aug. 25, 2014, crash that killed 22-year-old Eddie Esteban of Fullerton, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Birney.
Jurors deadlocked 8-4 for not guilty in Escalera’s case March 22.
Escalera had a blood-alcohol level of .26, more than three times the legal limit, and had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash at Town and Country Road and Parker Street, according to Birney. He was also driving more than twice the speed limit when he lost control of the car and struck a fire hydrant before slamming into a couple of trees, Birney said.
Escalera was arrested and booked on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in an earlier case on July 3, 2014, Birney said.
–City News Service
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