In California, a DUI charge is typically a misdemeanor, but it can become a felony charge in certain circumstances. In a situation where another person is killed or seriously injured, a person can find themselves facing a murder charge, particularly if they have had previous DUI charges and attended DUI school, as sometimes mandated in DUI cases. In cases where murder is charged, DUI can also be charged as a felony instead of a misdemeanor, compounding the sentence. KTLA reports on a man facing murder charges in a DUI accident that killed the mother of a family of four.
The accident occurred last Wednesday, just after 8 p.m. in Irvine, California, when he drove onto the sidewalk near Ridgeline Drive and Turtle Rock Drive.
37-year-old Kamal Akwette Attoh was driving an SUV when he swerved off of the roadway onto the sidewalk. There, he struck a family of four, dragging one of the victims until he struck a tree.
45-year-old Jeongmi Choi was walking with her 49-year-old husband and two teenage children. Choi was pronounced dead at the hospital just after 9 p.m. Her husband had to be rescued from beneath the SUV after being dragged until the SUV hit a tree and the vehicle stopped.
The husband was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries, including a ruptured spleen. The two teenage children were also injured.
Attoh had a blood-alcohol level of .22%, which is nearly three times the legal limit. He has previous DUI convictions in Ventura from 2002 and in Orange County from 2001. He has been charged with murder, three counts of DUI, and three counts of DUI with a blood-alcohol content of .08% or more causing serious injury.
He faces a maximum sentence of 22 years and four months to life in state prison if convicted on all charges.