A woman who was driving drunk when she killed six people in a wrong-way crash on the 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar nearly five years ago was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years to life in prison.
Olivia Carolee Culbreath's sentencing came after she pleaded no contest to six counts of second-degree murder in an open plea in court earlier this year. She did not negotiate a sentence with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office before entering the plea, prosecutors said.
Culbreath, 26, broke down during the sentencing in a Pomona courtroom, crying throughout her statement to the court. Speaking quietly, her words often muffled by tears, she apologized for her actions and for her emotional state.
"I ask God every single day to give comfort to those who are hurt by this," the Fontana woman said in the nearly 5-minute-long statement. "I want people to know I would die a million times over again for any one of you."
"They deserve so much more life and I wish I could give it to them," Culbreath added.
She stated she was at a loss after listening to the victim impact statements, which included one from her mother.
"I'm going to punish myself for the rest of my life," Culbreath said. "I was so wrong, and I take full responsibility."
On Feb. 9, 2014, Culbreath – then 21 – was driving her 2013 Chevrolet Camaro east down the freeway’s westbound lanes when she slammed head-on into a 1998 Ford Explorer carrying three generations of a Huntington Park family, authorities said.
All four of the Explorer's occupants were ejected from the vehicle and died. They were identified as Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47; his wife, Leticia Ibarra, 42; their daughter, Jessica Jasmine Mejia, 20; and Jessica’s grandmother, Ester Delgado.
The crash also killed Culbreath's two passengers, her older sister Maya Louise Culbreath, 24, and 21-year-old Kristin Melissa Young, a close friend and the defendant's son's godmother.
A 57-year-old man in a third vehicle involved in the horrific wreck suffered minor injuries.
Witnesses reported the Camaro had been traveling in excess of 100 mph shortly before the crash. There was also evidence of alcohol consumption at the scene.
The defendant was not charged with drunken driving, though her blood alcohol content was shown to be .15 percent – nearly twice the legal limit – three hours after the deadly crash, prosecutors said.
Culbreath, who was also injured in the crash, spent nearly a month in the hospital with a broken femur and ruptured bladder.
She had a prior DUI conviction from 2010, when she was 17, in San Bernardino juvenile court, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Culbreath also had another drunken driving arrest in which the court warned she could face murder charges for any further offenses, prosecutors said.
Restrictions had been placed on her driver's license but they had been lifted the week before the deadly crash, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
KTLA's Melissa Pamer and Dianne Sanchez contributed to this story.