While a charge of DUI murder is rare, it does happen. DUI murder is a second-degree murder charge, which means that a person didn’t plot or intend to kill another person, but they acted with “implied malice,” meaning that they acted with conscious disregard for the life of another. The penalties for a DUI murder can be severe, and if others are injured in the same accident, these penalties can be increased. If convicted, a person can be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison and be charged a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, time can be added to that sentence if other people experienced great bodily injury in the same accident. NBC Los Angeles reports on a woman facing murder charges in a deadly Pacific Coast Highway crash.
27-year-old Bani Marcela Duarte has been charged with three counts of murder, driving under the influence, and the sentence-enhancing charge of causing great bodily injury.
Concerned that Duarte might be a flight risk, her bail had been set at $4 million. She was due in court for a bail review hearing on Thursday, May 3rd.
The charges stem from an accident that occurred on March 29th on the Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach. Duarte was arrested at the scene but was able to post bail. The flight risk concerns led to her re-arrest a few days later.
Duarte rear-ended the vehicle that the victims were in, causing the car to burst into flames. Only one person was able to escape from the vehicle and they suffered from critical injuries.
17-year-old Brooke Hawley, 18-year-old Dylan Mack, and 17-year-old Albert Rossi were all killed in the accident. All the teenagers were visiting California from Las Vegas for their last Spring Break during their senior year.