A man who rented a U-Haul truck in La Habra, drove it while drunk and then slammed into another vehicle in a head-on crash — killing the other driver — was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced.
In October 2017, a jury found Dustin Lish guilty of second-degree murder for the crash that killed a 20-year-old on Nov. 9, 2011. Three hours after the deadly head-on collision, he still had a blood alcohol level of .16, which is two times the legal limit, according to prosecutors.
Lish, 26, had been drinking alcohol with some friends at his home in La Habra just before the crash, prosecutors said. He left the home with a friend and his sister drove them to a U-Haul facility also in La Habra, located along Lambert Road.
He worked at the U-Haul facility, and once there, he and his friend rented a truck, according to prosecutors. While the manager rented the truck to the pair, he would not let Lish drive since he was “visibly intoxicated,” prosecutors said in a news release.
As they drove away from the facility in the rental truck, Lish sat in the passenger seat while his friend got behind the wheel, according to prosecutors. But once they were away from the business, Lish got into the driver’s seat and took the wheel.
He was speeding and driving the truck “erratically,” prosecutor said, just around 5:40 p.m. that day. At some point after, he veered into the wrong side of the road and was driving toward oncoming traffic.
To avoid slamming head-on into the U-Haul truck, a Nissan SUV driving along that road swerved out of the way and then got side-swiped by the truck, prosecutors said. But even after grazing the SUV, Lish kept speeding into oncoming traffic.
That’s when he crashed head-on with Hyndai Accent being driven by Joseph Quezada, 20, according to prosecutors. The force of the impact was so strong that Quezada’s car was actually pushed back and into the car behind him, the DA’s office said in a news release.
Lish and his friend jumped out of the truck and fled the scene on foot, prosecutors said. He was later found hiding in a storage area just 200 feet away from the crash site.
Meanwhile, Quezada had been rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
According to prosecutors, black box data taken from the U-Haul truck showed that Lish was repeatedly and intentionally flooring the gas pedal of the truck.
No other details were released by the DA’s office.