D.A. files murder charges in wrong-way crash

Authorities charged a Pomona man Friday with murder after prosecutors alleged that a night of drinking that started in Newport Beach ended with a fatal head-on collision on a freeway in Anaheim.

Ruben Gurrola, 23, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Orange County's Central Jail in Santa Ana for murder, driving under the influence causing great bodily injury, and driving with a blood-alcohol content above the .08 legal limit.

He faces up to 19 years to life in prison, if convicted on all charges. He is being held in lieu of $1-million bail.

Prosecutors said Gurrola was drinking for several hours at a Newport bar Jan. 28 with his friends and girlfriend before taking a cab inland to a friend's house.

Gurrola is accused of getting behind the wheel of a Honda sedan with his girlfriend and leaving the house about 1:40 a.m., then heading north in the southbound lanes of the 241 toll road, where he narrowly missed other drivers, who called 911.

He then allegedly drove onto the Riverside (91) Freeway into oncoming traffic and hit a Toyota sedan driven by 57-year-old Young Kim, with 53-year-old Kyung Namgood in the passenger seat.

Namgood was pronounced dead at a local hospital at 2:50 a.m. Kim was injured, Gurrola's girlfriend suffered a broken nose and injured her neck, and Gurrola broke his leg.

Authorities said more than 90 minutes after the crash, at 3:15 a.m., Gurrola's blood-alcohol level was .17, more than double the legal limit.

Court records show Gurrola was cited by Newport Beach police in 2007 for being under 21 and having alcohol. Because he went through an alcohol- and drug-awareness program to get those charges dismissed, he can now be charged with murder in a DUI-related death.


Twitter: @JosephSerna

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