A man who drove drunk and veered into oncoming traffic while making a turn, slamming head-on into a minivan and killing a mother of three in Lake Forest, was convicted Monday of second-degree murder.
William Joseph Carroll, 51, of Mission Viejo, had a blood-alcohol level of about 0.23 — nearly three times the legal limit — when his Ford F-250 pickup truck slammed into a Toyota Sienna minivan driven by 36-year-old Ana Martinez about 11:40 p.m. May 7, 2013, Deputy District Attorney Daniel Feldman told jurors during the trial.
Martinez, who was driving to work at the time, was “crushed to death” in the crash, Feldman said.
The prosecutor said Carroll was making a left turn from El Toro Road to Santa Margarita Parkway in Lake Forest when he veered into oncoming traffic. A witness told investigators that Carroll ran a red light, he said.
Witnesses “describe Mr. Carroll’s truck like a train out of nowhere,” Feldman said, adding that the force of the collision was like “100 mph” when combining the speeds of both vehicles.
Carroll’s attorney, Sara Ross, told jurors it was “a case of government overreach.”
Ross acknowledged that Carroll was “responsible for the killing of Ana Martinez, but he’s not guilty of murder.”
Both drivers attempted to avoid each other, she said, adding that the intersection is “a bit confusing.”
“It’s a very confusing road and you’re going to need that context to determine whether this was a murder,” Ross told jurors.
Feldman said Carroll was charged with second-degree murder rather than vehicular manslaughter because when he was convicted of DUI on Sept. 11, 2008, he was warned he would be charged with murder in the event of involvement in a DUI-related death.
Carroll faces 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 19.
–City News Service