SANTA ANA, California – Suspected drunk driver Jessicah Louise Cowan, 33, of Lake Hughes is facing 15 years to life behind bars if she is convicted of a slew of charges including murder for killing a 5-year-old girl and seriously injuring her sister and mother after she ran a red light and struck them at a 17th Street crosswalk, according to a press release issued by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Cowan has been charged with one felony count each of murder, driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, driving with a blood alcohol level over .08 percent causing bodily injury and hit and run causing injury. She was also given sentencing enhancements for having a blood alcohol level over .20 percent and causing bodily injury as well as being cited for possession of marijuana while driving, the report said.
“Murder may be charged in cases of implied malice where the defendant intentionally commits an act that is dangerous to human life, knowing it is dangerous to human life, and acts with conscious disregard for human life,” the release said.
The alleged drunk driver’s arraignment in court was scheduled for Tuesday, June 26, 2012, however, it was postponed to a later date.
The crosswalk tragedy began on June 23 at about 11:00 a.m. as Cowan was reportedly driving erratically in Santa Ana while under the influence of alcohol. As Cowan drove down 17th Street she allegedly ran through a red light and lost control of her vehicle. She crashed into the center median and then continued driving down 17th Street and ran a second red light at Spurgeon Street.
The three victims were holding hands as they walked through the crosswalk on a green light with the walk sign lit, the report said. Cowan crashed into the victims, Osmara Meza, 5, her sister Gresia, 6, and the children’s mother Eloisa. The impact threw all three family members into the street and Osmara died at the scene. Paramedics transported her sister and mother to a nearby hospital where they were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries. Meanwhile, Cowan fled the scene of the crash and drove away with a witness in pursuit of her.
“The witness used their own car to block the road to prevent Cowan from fleeing,” according to the press release.
The Santa Ana Police Department arrested Cowan at the scene and while searching her vehicle found a vial of marijuana.
Drunk driving is the most frequently committed violent crime reported in the United States and someone is killed by one of these impaired drivers roughly every 40 minutes, according to statistics cited by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
“There is no excuse for driving drunk and anyone who injures or kills someone while doing so and flees the scene of the crash should be held accountable for their actions in court,” said Attorney West Seegmiller, founder of the Seegmiller Law Firm.
For roughly 30 years, the legal experts at Seegmiller Law Firm have represented hundreds of clients who were injured in serious traffic accidents or have lost a loved one.
Our legal team has also handled hundreds of wrongful death claims for families of victims killed in traffic accidents. Our staff is compassionate and understands the pain its clients are going through. We know that this is a difficult time for those who have been injured and for the families of those who have been killed. Our firm has a proven track record supported by settlements ranging from several thousand dollars to millions.
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