Crime

Nipomo woman pleads guilty in DUI car crash that injured Guadalupe officer

A Guadalupe police officer, an inmate being taken to jail and a Nipomo woman received minor injuries in a head-on collision on Highway 1 on Dec. 11, 2016.
A Guadalupe police officer, an inmate being taken to jail and a Nipomo woman received minor injuries in a head-on collision on Highway 1 on Dec. 11, 2016.

A Nipomo woman pleaded guilty Wednesday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court to driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana when her truck crashed head-on into a Guadalupe police car on Highway 1 last year.

Miranda A. Miranda, 19, was sentenced to 300 days in Santa Barbara County Jail plus five years probation after pleading guilty to felony driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent, causing injury. With the time she spent in jail since her arrest and for good behavior, Miranda received credit for 189 days as of Wednesday. Her driver’s license also has been suspended for a least a year.

Additionally, Judge Gustavo Lavayen ordered Miranda to pay the city of Guadalupe more than $41,100 for the patrol vehicle, with other restitution remaining open for additional claims.

A charge for felony driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury was dropped under a plea deal.

Miranda was driving on Highway 1 early on Dec. 11 when her truck crashed into a Guadalupe patrol vehicle driven by Officer Efrain Oseguera, who was taking a prisoner to the Santa Barbara County sheriff’s substation jail in Santa Maria.

Before Lavayen sentenced Miranda, Deputy District Attorney Jon Kawashima read a victim statement written by Oseguera. The officer recalled seeing headlights coming toward his patrol vehicle so he moved his foot off the gas pedal.

“In fear, my heart dropped, and I applied the brakes heavily on my patrol vehicle,” Oseguera wrote.

He swerved to avoid a collision, but the other driver also swerved. “In my head I thought to myself, ‘I’m dead,’ ” Oseguera said. “I knew there was no avoiding the head-on collision at this point.”

As the vehicles collided, Oseguera recalled hearing screeching tires, crunching metal and shattering glass followed by silence.

He assumed he blacked out, later confirmed by his body camera footage but for longer than the 10 seconds he estimated. He forced himself out of the driver’s door, and felt pain in his wrist. After a near-miss with another driver who came within a car length of hitting the wreckage, Oseguera said he put flares in the road to alert others.

He recalled seeing his prisoner, Abacuc Lopez-Sanchez, slumped in the back seat of the vehicle.

Oseguera paused to look at the patrol vehicle’s torn bumper, crumpled hood, flat tires and spilled fluids, staring in disbelief.

“Again I thought to myself, ‘I can’t believe I’m still alive,’ ” Oseguera wrote.

He spent three hours at the hospital before being sent home.

“This accident was not because of other drivers. This accident was because of Miranda. This accident would never have occurred if she had been a responsible adult,” Oseguera said.

“She knew she had alcohol in her system. She knew drinking alcohol underage wasn’t legal. She knew getting behind the wheel was not the right choice to make, and she knew that mixing marijuana with alcohol was also not the right thing to do,” he said.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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