Diamond Bar – The driver in a tragic high-speed, wrong-way accident that left six people dead — among them the driver’s sister — along the 60 Freeway in Diamond Bar four years ago, plead no contest to several counts of murder, according to court records.
Olivia Carolee Culbreath, who was only 21 when she drove her 2013 Chevrolet Camaro east down the freeway’s westbound lanes and slammed head-on into a Ford Explorer. Culbreath now 25 killed four people from three generations of one Huntington Park family and the two passengers in her own vehicle.
The gruesome accident, which had bodies ejected from the vehicles and strewn all about the roadway, gained national attention.
There weren’t any DUI charges filed against Culbreath even though evidence showed her blood alcohol concentration stood at .15 percent three hours after the collision, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
Prosecutors said Culbreath had been driving the wrong way on the 57 Freeway even before getting onto the 60 Freeway early that fateful Sunday morning in February of 2014.
The force her vehicle created when it slammed into the family’s 1998 Explorer ejected all four of its passengers: Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47; his wife, Leticia Ibarra, 42; their daughter, Jessica Jasmine Mejia, 20; and Jessica’s grandmother, Ester Delgado. Mejia-Martinez and Delgado died at the scene, while Ibarra and Mejia died some time later at the hospital.
Culbreath’s two passengers, her older sister Maya Louise Culbreath, 24, and their friend Kristin Melissa Young, 21, were both pronounced dead at the scene.
Culbreath and a 57-year-old man in a third vehicle that became swept up in the wreck survived the accident. Both sustained minor injuries; Culbreath was in the hospital for nearly a month with a broken femur and ruptured bladder.
Witnesses told investigators the Camaro had been racing down the freeway at speeds in excess of 100 mph shortly before the accident occurred. Evidence that alcohol may have played a part in this tragedy was also found at the scene.
Culbreath had previously been convicted of driving under the influence in 2010, when she was a 17 year old minor, in San Bernardino juvenile court, according to reports.
Prosecutors stated she had previously been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence when she was involved in another accident. At that time she was warned by the court about the dangers of her behavior. She was informed that further offenses could result in murder charges and prison time.
Restrictions that had been placed on her license in relation to a different intoxicated driving case, were lifted the week before the fatal accident took place, the DMV confirmed.
Her older sister’s license was suspended at the time of the fatal collision following multiple DUI convictions of her own, the Times reported.
Culbreath entered her no contest plea to six counts of second-degree murder Tuesday after previously pleading not guilty to murder charges on two occasions.
She is expected to return to court for sentencing Sept. 7 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.