News Releases

August 29, 2014: Woman Sentenced to Prison for Fatal DUI Crash in Pomona

Sarah Ardalani, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A 21-year-old woman convicted of driving drunk and crashing her car, resulting in the death of a passenger, was sentenced today to six years in state prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Raelene Marie Martinez of Ontario pleaded no contest on Aug. 25 to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury, driving with a .08 percent blood alcohol causing injury and driving with a blood alcohol of .05 percent in case KA102330.

The defendant also admitted to a special allegation of personally inflicting great bodily injury in the commission of the crime.

At the sentencing, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Douglas Sortino also ordered Martinez to pay restitution in the amount of $5,000 to the victim’s compensation board and $2,800 to the victim’s family.

Deputy District Attorney Sandra Jimenez, who prosecuted that case, said on April 7, 2013, Martinez, who was 20 years old at the time, was drinking alcohol at a party in Pomona when an altercation ensued. The defendant decided to leave the gathering.

Martinez got into the driver seat, while four others were passengers in the car, the prosecutor said.

During the drive, Martinez began to fight with the front passenger because she believed the person was involved in the fight at the party.

At that point, Martinez took her hands off the steering wheel and began hitting the front passenger, the prosecutor said. The car lost control, hit a curb and two other cars, and then flipped over.

The back passenger, Sarena Vargas, 19, was ejected from the car and died at the scene, the prosecutor said. The three other passengers suffered either fractures or bruising.

After the crash, Martinez was hospitalized for her injuries. She was later arrested and charged in connection with the crime.

The case was investigated by the Pomona Police Department.