In a 5-2 decision, the state Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated the conviction and 10-year prison sentence of Alberto Ochoa of Santa Ana for killing two occupants of a car he struck from behind on the Garden Grove Freeway in September, 1990.
Kevin Presley, 30, was killed instantly when Ochoa’s 1987 Ford Bronco collided with Presley’s Honda, knocking it off the freeway and down an embankment. His fiancee, Julie Daniel, was critically injured and died four days later, just before her 29th birthday.
Ochoa, whose blood-alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit, was convicted of hit-and-run drunk driving. He had been convicted of drunk driving in 1988 and attended an alcohol-awareness class.
The high court voted to uphold Superior Court Judge Richard Weatherspoon’s decision to let the jury learn about the prior conviction before deciding whether Ochoa had been grossly negligent.