Jorene Ypanto Nicolas faces trial today for vehicular manslaughter stemming from a crash that killed 23 year old Deanna Mauer. Nicolas is accused of being distracted and crashing into Mauer’s Hyundai sedan at 80 mph.
According to a press release issued by the District Attorney for Santa Ana, On April 27, 2011, Nicolas is accused of being distracted by a cell phone while speeding down interstate 405 at 80 mph. Nicolas did not notice traffic had stopped ahead of her and failed to break. Nicolas hit the back of Mauer’s sedan, causing the car to lose control, first hitting the car in front and next hitting the center divider.
The victim was wearing a seatbelt but suffered a vertebral artery transection. She was transported to University of California, Irvine Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 6:00 p.m. Cause of death was brain damage caused by the vertebral artery transection.
Nicolas lost control of her own car and also hit the center divider but only suffered minor lacerations.
Nicolas is charged with one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. She faces maximum sentence of six years in state prison if convicted.
Opening statements on the case began today, April 1 2014 in in Department C-28, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.