September 15, 2010
Orange County District Attorney's Office
SANTA ANA - A 21-year-old speeding drunken driver was sentenced today to seven years in state prison for killing one friend and injuring another after losing control of his car and crashing into a tree. Rigoberto Mendozamora, San Juan Capistrano, pleaded guilty to a court offer to one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated with a sentencing enhancement for causing bodily injury to an additional victim.
At approximately 2:45 a.m. on March 6, 2010, Mendozamora was driving while under the influence of alcohol at a high rate of speed on Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point. The defendant was driving friends Daniel Higuera, 24, and Jesus Avalos-Munguia, 24, as passengers in his Honda sedan. Mendozamora lost control of his car due to his intoxication and high rate of speed, and crashed into a tree near Green Lantern Street.
Avalos-Munguia died at the scene as a result of his injuries. Higuera was transported to the hospital to be treated for lacerations and abrasions to his face and body, neck pain, and other injuries. Mendozamora caused the crash that killed Avalos-Munguia and injured Higuera.
When officers arrived at the scene, Mendozamora displayed objective signs of intoxication including omitting a strong odor of alcohol, and having bloodshot and watery eyes, slurred speech, and a lack of balance.
Today in court, four family members of Avalos-Munguia gave victim impact statements describing the loss and anguish that they each experience every day as result of his death.
Deputy District Attorney Jason Baez of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.