A drunken driver who killed a Moreno Valley mom and seriously injured her two sons in a rear-end collision pleaded guilty Tuesday to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Luis Gustavo Navarro, 27, of Moreno Valley caused the wreck last July 23 that fatally injured 45-year-old Ana Estrada.
During a status hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice, the prosecution and defense informed Riverside County Superior Court Judge J. Thompson Hanks that a plea deal had been reached, under which Navarro agreed to admit to the manslaughter count, with a sentence-enhancing great bodily injury allegation.
In exchange for his plea, the District Attorney's Office stipulated a potential sentence of five years in state prison, instead of the 10-plus years Navarro could have faced.
Hanks is expected to certify the plea agreement at a July 29 sentencing hearing.
According to sheriff's investigators, the victim was riding with her sons, 20-year-old Ramon and 16-year-old Jose, when the defendant pulled behind the victims' Toyota Tacoma pickup truck in his Infinity G-35 sports coupe as they were traveling eastbound on Cactus Avenue, approaching Joy Street, shortly after midnight.
Navarro was traveling well over the speed limit and plowed into the slower-moving vehicle, authorities said.
Ana Estrada, who was riding in the front passenger seat, suffered major head trauma and died less than a half-hour after arrival at Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley. Her eldest son, who was driving, suffered broken hips and legs, as well as other serious injuries that left him hospitalized for weeks, according to the prosecution.
He continues to battle physical ailments caused by the crash. His brother, who had been in the rear seat compartment, was also seriously hurt but has since recovered.
Navarro escaped with minor injuries. According to prosecutors, he had a blood-alcohol level of .21 -- more than twice the legal limit to operate a vehicle in California -- at the time of the crash.
The defendant, who has no prior felony convictions, will have to serve at least four years and three months behind bars before he's eligible for parole.
– City News Service.