DUI Driver Gets 8 Years in Prison for Ventura County Crash That Killed Her Passenger

A Palmdale woman who was driving drunk when she crashed along a highway in Ventura County, killing a passenger in her vehicle and injuring four others, has been sentenced to eight years in prison, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Maia Yasmine James, 22, collided into two vehicles as she drove into oncoming traffic along Highway 126 east of Fillmore on the night of Oct. 13, 2017, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.

The crash killed a passenger inside her vehicle and seriously injured the driver and passenger inside the first vehicle she hit, authorities said. Two people inside the second vehicle struck were also left injured.

California Highway Patrol officers discovered she had a blood alcohol content of 0.258 percent after the collision, which is more than three times the legal limit, prosecutors said. Authorities said she drank more than seven alcoholic drinks before the crash.

She pleaded guilty to charges in the case and was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury on June 21, 2019.

Prosecutors said she also admitted special allegations that she inflicted great bodily injury, had a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher and injured additional victims.

Following her guilty plea but prior to her recent sentencing, James was arrested and charged with felony DUI in San Diego County, according to Ventura County prosecutors. That other case is still pending.

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