In California, DUI murder is not a separate charge. It is a second-degree murder charge under California Penal Code 187. It is sometimes referred to as Watson murder after a 1981 California Supreme Court case that upheld a drunk driver can be charged with murder if they kill someone as a result of driving while intoxicated. Normally, someone charged with DUI murder must have been convicted of at least one previous DUI conviction before they can be charged with the crime. This is because once convicted of a DUI, a judge or a probation officer informs the driver that they can be charged with murder if they drive while intoxicated again and kill someone.
NBC Los Angeles reports that a former school principal has been convicted of murder following a DUI crash.
37-year-old Mary Noel Kruppe, principal at Enterprise Elementary School, was convicted on Monday of the charge of second-degree murder. She was also convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
The charges stem from a crash that occurred on November 15, 2018. Kruppe had been driving south on 50th Street East when she veered into oncoming traffic, striking a 2010 Mazda head-on.
29-year-old Jessica Ordaz, who was behind the wheel of the Mazda, was pronounced dead at the scene. Kruppe suffered from moderate injuries and was taken to a hospital for treatment. She was later taken into custody and has remained in jail since the accident.
Kruppe is due for sentencing on February 20th.