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Distracted Driver Convicted of Killing Motorist by Slamming Into Car Stopped in Traffic at 85 mph

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A 32-year-old woman was convicted Thursday of causing the death of a fellow motorist by crashing into the victim’s car at approximately 85 mph after failing to notice that traffic had come to a stop on the 405 Freeway.

Jorene Ypanto Nicolas was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the 2011 crash, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The San Diego woman was “distracted and inattentive” while speeding along the northbound 405 Freeway near Edwards Street in Westminster on the morning of April 27, 2011, prosecutors said.

Nicolas was going about 85 mph when her Toyota Prius slammed into the back of a Hyundai sedan, driven by 23-year-old Deanna Mauer, according to the DA’s office.

Mauer’s car was pushed into the vehicle in front of her and then struck the center divider before coming to a stop facing southbound in the northbound lanes, the release stated.

After hitting Mauer, Nicolas lost control of her own vehicle and also crashed into the center divider. Nicolas received only minor injuries.

Mauer, who had been wearing her seatbelt, was transported to University of California, Irvine Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

Nicolas faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison.