Woman pleads guilty in DUI fatal crash in Costa Mesa five years ago

Scales of justice
Kimberly Renee Martin pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the May 1, 2018, crash that killed Enrique Orlando Marquez.
(File Photo)

A 39-year-old woman pleaded guilty Wednesday and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for a drunken driving collision that killed a 23-year-old man in Costa Mesa five years ago.

Kimberly Renee Martin pleaded guilty through tears to second-degree murder in the May 1, 2018, crash that killed Enrique Orlando Marquez.

“If I could change anything I would change everything,” Martin said, sobbing.


The victim’s mother, Berenice, told Orange County Superior Court Judge Sheila Hanson through an interpreter that her family is “still processing this. I’ve never in my life experienced such great pain. The first months were terrible.”

The victim’s mother said her son regularly attended Sunday services at their church and would play drums.

“This has been the great challenge of my life to not hear the drum sticks anymore,” she said. “He faithfully served at church every Sunday.”

The victim’s mother told the defendant she was “grateful to the Lord because you have taken responsibility for your actions. I am committed to pray for you and your family so you can find peace and mercy.”

Hanson said, “There are no winners today.”

The judge noted the victim’s family “lost someone so important,” but added in reference to the defendant’s family at the hearing, “Look behind you. I see so many in pain.”

Martin’s attorney, Randall Bethune, said his client has served as a dog trainer through a program while in custody and that another attorney in the Public Defender’s Office adopted one of the dogs she trained. Martin also earned “numerous” certificates while in custody for various other programs.

Martin was given credit for 1,864 days already served behind bars.

Martin, who had a blood-alcohol content of 0.16, which is twice the legal limit, was driving 70 mph and flashed through a red light when she crashed her Volkswagen Tiguan SUV into a Honda at Mesa Drive and Santa Ana Avenue about 12:20 a.m. May 1, 2018.

A neighbor who heard the collision dashed out of his home, saw the smoldering SUV and dragged Martin out while her boyfriend jumped out of the passenger seat and ran away, police said in Martin’s preliminary hearing.