Local News

Victims ID’d in Deadly Wrong-Way Crash as DUI Record Comes to Light

A Fontana woman faced criminal charges Monday after she allegedly drove the wrong way on the 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar and was involved in a multi-vehicle collision that left six people dead, including her sister, authorities said.

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Maya Culbreath, Kristin Young, Jessica Mejia and Gregorio Martinez are four of the victims killed in a freeway crash in Diamond Bar on Feb. 9, 2014. Culbreath is the sister of the alleged DUI driver suspected in the crash. (Credit: DMV)

The Los Angeles County coroner’s office identified the deceased as: Kristin Melissa Young, 21, of Chino; Maya Louise Culbreath, 24, of Rialto; Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47, of Huntington Park; Ester Delgado, of unknown age, from Huntington Park; Leticia Ibarra, 42, of Huntington Park; and Jessica Jasmine Mejia, 20, of Huntington Park.

Young was originally identified as 24 years old, but the coroner’s office later corrected her age to 21.

Young and Maya Culbreath died at the scene; they had been riding in a 2013 Chevrolet Camaro driven by a suspected drunk driver, Olivia Carolee Culbreath, 21, according to authorities.

Olivia Culbreath, Maya’s younger sister, was headed east on the westbound 60 Freeway Sunday around 4:40a.m., when she was involved in the violent collision, California Highway Patrol officials said.

She had a previous DUI conviction and, a week before, had restrictions on her license lifted, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We are just in a lot of pain right now,” said an older woman who opened the door at Culbreath’s home in Fontana. “We are just devastated for everyone else involved.”

Witnesses told investigators Culbreath was driving more than 100 miles an hour when her Camaro collided head-on with a 1998 Ford Explorer, which then hit a 2006 Ford Freestyle, according to the CHP.

Four members of the same family were riding in the Explorer, according to the coroner’s office: Gregorio Mejia-Martinez and Leticia Ibarra, their daughter, Jessica Mejia, and Jessica’s grandmother, Ester Delgado.

Gregorio Mejia-Martinez and Ester Delgado died on scene, while Leticia Ibarra and Jessica Mejia died later at a hospital, the coroner’s office stated.

All four had apparently been ejected from the Explorer, according to a CHP statement that described the collision and information from the coroner’s office.

Culbreath was 17 when she convicted of a DUI in 2010 in San Bernardino juvenile court, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing DMV officials. She had at least two more traffic citations before her license was reinstated in December 2011, The Times reported.

Maya Culbreath also had multiple DUI convictions, and her license was suspended last year and had not been reinstated at the time of the crash, the newspaper reported.

Culbreath was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence of alcohol causing great bodily injury or death, and of felony manslaughter, according to a news release issued by the CHP.

She remained hospitalized Monday at USC Medical Center, where she was being treated for a broken femur and a ruptured bladder.

An occupant of the Freestyle, 57-year-old Joel Cortez of La Puente, suffered minor injuries.

“Once we’d seen pictures and images of the crash, it kind of hit us, like, ‘Oh, my God. How did he make it?” said Emma Cortez, Joel’s daughter.

She said her father told her that he “remembered getting hit by an engine.”

“He looks to his right after an airbag deflated and he thought it was luggage or a bag, because it was so dark,” Emma said. “He comes to find out that it’s a body.”

Joel “waited for the the ambulance and the police officers to help him get out of the car,” she said. “He could hear people in the background saying, ‘There’s bodies everywhere.’”

Anyone with information about the collision was asked to contact the California Highway Patrol’s Baldwin Park office at 626-338-1164.

KTLA’s Anita Bennett, Jennifer Thang, Justin Burton, Sara Welch and Melissa Pamer contributed to this article.

Correction: An earlier version of this article used an image that had a caption stating its two photos showed Olivia Culbreath. It was not certain if Culbreath was shown in both photos or either photo in the image, which has been removed.

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Six people were killed in the Feb. 9, 2014, crash on the 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar. (Credit: KTLA)

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