A previously convicted DUI offender who killed a 71-year-old woman and injured others in a drunken driving wreck in Corona pleaded guilty Thursday to second-degree murder and other charges and was immediately sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison.
Along with the murder count, Adrian Reyes Antonio, 42, of Fontana admitted two counts of driving under the influence resulting in great bodily injury and driving on a revoked license.
No charges were dismissed under the plea, which was made directly to Riverside County Superior Court Judge Sean Crandell, without input or objection from the District Attorney’s Office.
Crandell imposed the statutory maximum term of imprisonment for the murder charge and ordered that terms imposed for the other counts run concurrent to the principal one. The earliest that Antonio will be eligible for parole will be in 2037.
The defendant killed Joan M. McKee and severely injured 68-year-old James J. Poundstone, both of Huntington Beach, on the evening of April 17, 2021.
According to the California Highway Patrol, about 6 p.m. that day, Antonio was speeding eastbound on the Riverside (91) Freeway in the No. 2 lane, near Lincoln Avenue, in a Ford Windstar minivan when traffic ahead of him began to slow.
Officer Juan Quintero said that Antonio did not brake and careened into the back of a Chrysler Voyager driven by Poundstone. Mckee was his front seat passenger.
Following the impact, the Chrysler spun into a Nissan Altima in an adjacent lane.
“Due to the severity of the collision, the driver and passenger of the Chrysler were ejected from their vehicle,” Quintero said.
After hitting Poundstone’s van, the defendant’s Ford struck a GMC Terrain SUV and then a Kia Sorento, both in the fast lane, according to the CHP spokesman. He said the Kia was pushed into the back of a Honda Accord.
Corona Fire Department personnel pronounced McKee dead at the scene and transported Poundstone to a Riverside hospital with major injuries. The victim has since recovered.
The driver of the Kia suffered moderate injuries and was also hospitalized, according to Quintero.
The other parties escaped with minor or no injuries and did not require further medical treatment.
Quintero said officers evaluated Antonio, who was unhurt, and immediately determined he was intoxicated.
The eastbound 91 was partially shut down for over three hours because of the multi-vehicle wreck.
According to court records, Antonio had a prior misdemeanor conviction for DUI in another jurisdiction. Under California law, a convicted DUI offender who is aware of the risks of drinking and driving and then causes someone’s death because of it can be charged with murder.