LANCASTER – A Lancaster man who rear-ended a car at a traffic light in Palmdale while drunk and on probation for alcohol-related reckless driving was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in state prison.
Jeffrey Cole Brooks, 25, was convicted June 2 of second-degree murder for the Sept. 26, 2014, crash that killed 21-year-old Daniel Eduardo Orellana.
Orellana, who was on his way home from work, was stopped at a red light at Avenue S and Sierra Highway when struck from behind by Brooks’ 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
The impact of the crash caused Orellana’s car to burst into flames and spin across the intersection, according to Deputy District Attorney Daniel Rochmes.
Brooks — who had taken a “party bus” to Los Angeles — ignored warnings from friends, who told him that he was too drunk to drive, and left the Park and Ride lot on Avenue S in Palmdale, the prosecutor said.
An expert collision reconstructionist from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department testified that Brooks was driving more than 88 mph when he struck the victim.
A criminalist testified that Brooks’ blood-alcohol level was between 0.27 percent and 0.30 percent — more than three times the legal limit.
At the time of the crash, Brooks was on probation in San Diego County for alcohol-related reckless driving. Brooks had attended court-ordered DUI education classes that warned about the dangers of driving under the influence, the prosecutor said.
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