SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – A 37-year-old Santa Ana man has been charged with murder in a drunken driving wreck Wednesday night that killed a mother and injured her husband and two teenage children.
Kamal Akwette Attoh faces one count of murder, and three counts each of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury and driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.8 percent or more causing bodily injury, the Orange County district attorney’s office reports. He was driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.22 percent, prosecutors said.
Attoh had been previously convicted of driving under the influence in Orange County in 2001, and Ventura in 2002.
The family of four was walking on a sidewalk along Ridgeline Drive, at Turtle Rock Drive, at around 8 p.m. Wednesday, when an SUV veered out of control, hitting them, and then went down an embankment and slammed into a tree.
The mother identified as 45-year-old Jeongmi Choi died after being rushed to a hospital. Her 49-year-old husband and two teen children, an 18-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl, were seriously hurt. The father was airlifted from the scene after being pinned beneath the car, Irvine police said. He suffered a ruptured spleen and internal injuries. The 15-year-old girl required stitches and her brother suffered multiple injuries, including a broken nose.
Attoh was treated for his injuries at the hospital before being taken into custody.
He is being held on $1 million bail. He was scheduled to appear before an Orange County Superior Court judge Friday for a pre-trial hearing.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 22 years to life in state prison.