A twice-convicted drunken driver was behind bars Monday on suspicion of driving under the influence in a crash that killed two people on the Santa Ana (5) Freeway in Irvine.
Jorge ErastoCruz, 33, of Lake Forest, was on probation for two DUIs in 2019, according to court records. He was being held on $1 million bail in Orange County Jail, according to jail records.
The crash occurred about 2:10 a.m. Sunday on the freeway just north of Yale Avenue in the southbound lanes, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Alice Read, 25, of San Diego and an unidentified man were killed in the crash, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Todd Hylton.
A 23-year-old San Diego woman was driving a 2016 Honda Civic, which stopped on the right shoulder, according to the CHP.
A man got out of the car and was struck by a white Honda, causing ErastoCruz to try to maneuver around the victim and veer off the road to the right, where he crashed into the rear of the 2016 Honda Civic, the CHP said.
Read, who was in the middle rear of the 2016 Honda, and the unidentified man who got out of the vehicle were killed, the CHP said. The unidentified man was pronounced dead at the scene and Read was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, the CHP said.
ErastoCruz pleaded guilty July 31, 2019, to two misdemeanor DUIs in Orange County. One occurred on Oct. 18, 2018, and the other was Dec. 30, 2018. As a result, he was placed on five years of informal probation.
The prior convictions for DUI could be used by prosecutors to upgrade any charges from manslaughter to second-degree murder under state law. ErastoCruz was scheduled to appear in the jail courtroom in Santa Ana on Tuesday.