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Driver pleads guilty in DUI crash that killed couple

Justice (FILE)
Posted at 2:01 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 17:01:22-04

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A woman has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a drunken-driving crash that killed a couple and injured their three young children in Southern California.

The Orange County Register reports that 23-year-old Grace Coleman pleaded guilty Friday to charges of second-degree murder, driving under the influence and hit-and-run in connection with the December 2020 crash in Newport Beach.

The plea was in response to an offer by Judge Gregg L. Prickett and means Coleman faces up to 21 years to life in prison. She is expected to be sentenced July 19 and had she been convicted could have faced a longer prison term.

Authorities said Coleman was driving with a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit when she ran a red light and crashed into a car driven by Henry Saldana-Mejia as he took his family to see Christmas lights.

He and his wife, Gabriela Andrade were killed and their 1-, 4- and 5-year-old daughters, who were secured in car seats, were injured.

Coleman has been held without bail since the fatal collision. The paper says she was previously arrested for investigation of misdemeanor DUI in a separate incident.