Olivia Carolee Culbreath is behind bars for causing the deaths of six people, including her sister, in a wrong-way DUI crash in Diamond Bar, California.
In the early morning hours of Feb. 9, 2014, Culbreath, then 21, of Fontana, was driving her red 2013 Chevrolet Camaro northbound on the southbound lanes of the 57 freeway.
She then veered into oncoming traffic in the westbound lanes of the 60 freeway at more than 100 mph, colliding head-on with a 1998 Ford Explorer.
The SUV was then hit by another vehicle, a 2006 Ford Freestyle, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The four occupants in the Ford Explorer, a family from Huntington Park, were ejected in the crash.
Emergency first responders pronounced two dead on the scene and transported the remaining two to a local hospital, but they did not survive.
The two passengers in Culbreath’s vehicle were also pronounced dead at the scene, KTLA reported.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office identified the victims in the 60 freeway crash as Kristin Melissa Young, 21, Maya Louise Culbreath, 24, Gregorio Mejia-Martinez, 47, Ester Delgado, 80, Leticia Ibarra, 42, and 20-year-old Jessica Jasmine Mejia.
Culbreath, who had given birth to a baby boy 11 days prior, and a 57-year-old man, Joel Cortez, in a third vehicle, were the sole survivors of the crash.
Cortez recalled being removed from his wrangled vehicle and transported to a nearby ambulance.
He told CBS News that he could “hear somebody say, ‘There are bodies all over the place…’ All I saw was the red Explorer jump, and then I tried to steer – and hit it, and drove right into the center wall of the freeway.”
“I was on the way to the hospital. One of the paramedics said, ‘You were lucky.’”
After spending nearly a month in the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center with a broken femur and ruptured bladder, Culbreath was arrested.
She was held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles on six counts of second-degree murder.
Her bond was $6 million.
In a statement released by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Culbreath had a “.15 percent blood alcohol content approximately three hours after the fatal crash,” but there were no DUI charges filed against her.
On May 22, 2018, she pled no contest to the charges in an open plea court to avoid a trial. Her attorney stated that “she felt that it was important to spare her family, and the family of the victims, the trauma of a trial.”
Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench imposed the maximum sentence because of her choice to plead no contest.
In an emotional statement, Culbreath apologized for causing the deaths of six people in the 60 freeway crash.
She said, “I ask God every single day to give comfort to those who are hurt by this. I want people to know I would die a million times over again for any one of you.”
“They deserve so much more life, and I wish I could give it to them. I’m going to punish myself for the rest of my life. I was so wrong, and I take full responsibility.”
During a preliminary hearing, evidence of Culbreath’s previous DUI arrest was presented to the court.
On April 13, 2010, at the age of 17, she was convicted of driving drunk in a San Bernardino juvenile court, the California Department of Motor Vehicles told the Los Angeles Times.
The court admonished her about the dangers of driving under the influence, stating that she could possibly face murder charges as a result of her actions.
Restrictions were placed on Culbreath’s driver’s license, but they were lifted a week before the deadly 60 freeway crash.
On Dec. 5, 2018, Culbreath was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.
In 2020, the three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected Culbreath’s appeal. She claimed that the “judge should have suppressed evidence from a blood draw” that was taken from her while she was unconscious after the crash.
“We find that the circumstances here clearly justified the warrantless blood draw,” according to the 12-page ruling. “To call this an emergency would be an understatement; it was a catastrophe… The totality of the circumstances shows that the warrantless blood draw was reasonable based on the exigent circumstances present.”