LANCASTER – A drunk driver has been sentenced to four years in prison for a crash in Littlerock last month that left a Navy petty officer dead just four days after his wedding.
Mickey Oden, 40, of Llano was sentenced in a Lancaster courtroom on Oct. 3, after pleading no contest on Sept. 19 to vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence and driving with a .08% blood alcohol content causing injury, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Oden’s conviction stems from a traffic crash on Sept. 5 that claimed the life of 26-year-old motorcyclist Aaron Esala. It happened around 4 p.m. on State Route 138 near 72nd Street East, according to the California Highway Patrol. Oden was driving a 2003 Nissan eastbound on the highway when he made a left turn in front of two Harley Davidson motorcyclists traveling west on the same road, the CHP reported. One of riders — Esala — collided with Oden’s car and was thrown from his bike. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The other ride — 28-year-old James Seier — survived the crash, and Oden was arrested at the scene for drunk driving.
Esala, a U.S. Navy petty officer, had just married his longtime girlfriend, Amber, on Sept. 1 in Ashland, WI. He was on his way back to his base in Port Hueneme before starting a new assignment in Texas, according to media reports. Affectionately known as “Truck” to his fellow Seabees, Esala was “always willing to lend a hand to others, [and] he embodied the Seabee moto, ‘With compassion for others, we build, we fight for peace with freedom,'” according to Seabee Magazine.
Previous related story: Motorcyclist killed in Littlerock; driver arrested on suspicion of DUI