Woman Convicted Of Murder For DUI Crash That Killed 6-Year-Old Girl
A woman was convicted of second-degree murder—and a whole litany of other charges—on Friday for a 2012 DUI crash in Santa Ana that killed a 6-year-old girl, and severely injured her mother and sister.KTLA reports that a jury found 37-year-old Jessicah Louise Cowan of Lake Hughes guilty on several counts, including vehicular manslaughter, hit and run with permanent injury or death, driving under the influence, and possession of marijuana.
On June 23, 2012, 6-year-old Osmara Meza, her 7-year-old sister Grisea Meza, and their mother Eloisa were walking to Norm's restaurant, and were crossing the street in a marked crosswalk near 17th and Spurgeon streets in Santa Ana when they were struck by Cowan.
According to ABC-7, Cowan had just arrived at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank after a flight from Oakland, and a Southwest Airlines receipt revealed he had purchased two drinks during the flight. Other receipts found in Cowan's car showed that she stopped at two liquor stores before the crash.
Police also found two mini-vodka bottles, a container with the words "Green Crack" (a strain of marijuana) on it, and a pipe in her car. According to NBC L.A., Cowan's blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit at the time.
The O.C. Weekly reported at the time that Cowan's silver 2002 Lexus was spotted driving erratically on 17th street, where it hit a center median and ran a red light before reaching the crosswalk at 17th and Spurgeon. Cowan's car hit the Mezas at 60 mph, and dragged them 70 feet from where they had been walking before speeding off.
A witness followed Cowan and cornered her vehicle while waiting for police to arrive.
Osmara was pronounced dead at the scene. Eloisa went into a coma and was on a breathing machine, and Grisea also suffered a head injury. Both Eloisa and Grisea have since recovered, but Eloisa told ABC that she's "still in constant physical pain."
Sentencing is expected for June 10. Cowan faces 15 years to life in prison, but her attorney Dennis O'Connell says the murder charge is too much.
"She's a severe alcoholic who has a disease," he told ABC. "I don't think we should put those people in the same category as a murderer."