Menu
Law Firm of Aaron Bortel

Sole survivor of California wrong-way crash recalls horror of crash that killed 6


The only surviving victim of the deadly wrong-way accident, in which 6 individuals died in Southern California on Sunday, recalled the chilling moment he realized many lives were lost in the horrific accident.

According to 57-year-old Joel Cortez, he was sitting in his crushed Ford Freestyle when a suspected driver driving under the influence of alcohol caused the three-car accident and he could hear panicked screaming voices in the darkness.

Cortez told KTLA, “I heard people talking on the outside. They said, ‘Oh my God, there are bodies all over the place”. He also said, “There were lots of parts of my interior car inside of me, in my legs, everywhere”. He suffered minor injuries in the accident and said, “I was lucky”. At about 4:40 a.m., Cortez was driving on the westbound 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar when the red Ford Explorer in front of him suddenly just jumped into the air.

According to the police, suspected drunk driver, 21-year-old Olivia Carolee Culbreath, caused the high-speed collision while driving at more than 100 mph in the wrong direction. She crashed her Chevrolet Camaro head-on into the 1998 Explorer and caused the chain reaction. Culbreath survived but 2 individuals who were travelling in her vehicle, her sister Maya Louise Culbreath and Kristin Melissa Young, died in the accident.

All four members of the Huntington Park family traveling in the Ford Explorer died in the crash. They were identified by the Los Angeles County coroner office as 47-year-old Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 42-year-old Leticia Ibarra, 20-year-old Jessica Jasmine Mejia and Ester Delgado, who was at least 80 years old.

On Wednesday, a coroner spokesman told the Daily News that toxicology tests will be included in the investigation of the incident.

It was confirmed by the hospital on Wednesday that Olivia Culbreath remained at USC Medical Center. She suffered a broken femur and a ruptured bladder in the accident.

The California Highway Patrol said in a news advisory that she was booked on suspicion of felony DUI causing great bodily injury or death and felony manslaughter on Monday.

Olivia Culbreath had a previous DUI conviction and other traffic violations on her record and had restrictions on her license.

Cortez was asked whether he was angry at Culbreath and he replied, “I don’t feel angry. I feel sorry, you know, for her. I can’t imagine how you can live the rest of your life … thinking how many people you killed, including your own sister”.

News Source: www.NYDailyNews.com

 

Share this Article

About the Author

My name is Aaron Bortel. I practice in the state of California. I handle DUI cases exclusively and have been practicing for over 25 years.