Drunk Driver in Deadly California Wreck Had Prior DUI

Finebloom, Haenel & Higgins

On Sunday, February 9, 2014, just hours after an accident in Florida which was frighteningly similar, 21 year old Olivia Culbreath drove her Camaro the wrong way down a major highway in the Los Angeles area at speeds of upward of 100 miles per hour.  She struck an oncoming Ford Explorer head on.  In the accident, all four passengers of the Ford Explorer and both of the driver's passengers died.  The victims in the Explorer were four members of the same family from three generations.  One of the two victims who were passengers in the Camaro was Culbreath's sister.  Culbreath survived the accident with a broken leg and a ruptured bladder.  A driver of a third vehicle involved in the accident had minor injuries.

In the days that followed this accident, it was discovered that Culbreath had another, recent, DUI on her record from when she was 17, along with multiple serious traffic violations.  Her license was suspended four times between 2010 and 2011 and according to many reports; she had only gotten it reinstated five days before this accident took place.    Police suspect that alcohol is also a factor in the accident from Sunday and it is suspected that she is going to be facing a multitude of felony charges related to drinking and driving.

The California accident seems to mirror a similar accident near Tampa the same night, just a few hours before.  In that accident, an unidentified driver drove the wrong way on I-275 at high rates of speed, eventually hitting a car with four college students from Southern Florida in fiery wreck.  The driver of the car going the wrong way and all four passengers of the car he hit were killed.  Police have not determined at this point if alcohol was involved in that crash and say that it could be up to two months before the test results on the body are completed.  The two accidents have been lumped together into one story throughout much of the media both because of the astounding 11 people that died in the two accidents along with the facts of the two crashes being so similar.

The penalties for a DUI conviction which Culbreath face in California are severe and could even result in her going to prison for life.  The normal sentence for DUI manslaughter in California is a prison sentence of up to 10 years, license revocation and fines.  However, in this case, this is Culbreath's second DUI within the wash out period (10 years in California).  In that case she would face a sentence of 15 years to life.  In this particular case, however, there are a number of factors which could very well make her sentence more on the life sentence side of things including the fact that she only had her license given back 5 days before this accident and the fact that six people died.  Because of the horrifying nature of this particular crash, the likelihood of Culbreath spending most or all of her remaining years in jail are very high.