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Debbie Sumi Faces DUI Manslaughter Charges in Vista

Debbie Sumi survived ejection from her vehicle at highway speeds only to face manslaughter charges.
Debbie Sumi survived ejection from her vehicle at highway speeds only to face manslaughter charges.

A woman 4 feet 9 inches tall and weighing 104 pounds was said to be driving with a lethal blood alcohol content when she crashed a car into people on the side of the road last summer, according to testimony given at the Vista Courthouse on February 23.

Witnesses said a white Jeep struck a car that had stopped at the side of of Highway 78 in Vista after midnight on August 13 of 2010. A woman driving a black Nissan had pulled over because she felt sick, and passengers in her car got out and joined her. Two persons from the Nissan were struck and killed (Susana Orozco and Erica Oliva, both 23), according to evidence at the preliminary hearing.

Debbie Sumi was thrown from the white Jeep as it rolled down the highway, and the other person in that car, Larry Alvarez, 34, was trapped under the Jeep and crushed to death, according to CHP officer Brent Twedt. Sumi was found dazed in the middle of the highway.

Private defense attorney Victor Orsatti has suggested that Alvarez might have been the Jeep driver. But investigators testified that the driver’s seat was adjusted for Sumi, not Alvarez, who was said to be 5 feet 11 inches tall.

Hospital records show Sumi had a blood alcohol content of .348, “acute alcohol intoxication" — a lethal level of alcohol, according to prosecutor Jodi Breton.

Superior court judge J. Michael Kirkman ordered Sumi to face three felony DUI manslaughter charges and set March 23 for her next court appearance.

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Debbie Sumi survived ejection from her vehicle at highway speeds only to face manslaughter charges.
Debbie Sumi survived ejection from her vehicle at highway speeds only to face manslaughter charges.

A woman 4 feet 9 inches tall and weighing 104 pounds was said to be driving with a lethal blood alcohol content when she crashed a car into people on the side of the road last summer, according to testimony given at the Vista Courthouse on February 23.

Witnesses said a white Jeep struck a car that had stopped at the side of of Highway 78 in Vista after midnight on August 13 of 2010. A woman driving a black Nissan had pulled over because she felt sick, and passengers in her car got out and joined her. Two persons from the Nissan were struck and killed (Susana Orozco and Erica Oliva, both 23), according to evidence at the preliminary hearing.

Debbie Sumi was thrown from the white Jeep as it rolled down the highway, and the other person in that car, Larry Alvarez, 34, was trapped under the Jeep and crushed to death, according to CHP officer Brent Twedt. Sumi was found dazed in the middle of the highway.

Private defense attorney Victor Orsatti has suggested that Alvarez might have been the Jeep driver. But investigators testified that the driver’s seat was adjusted for Sumi, not Alvarez, who was said to be 5 feet 11 inches tall.

Hospital records show Sumi had a blood alcohol content of .348, “acute alcohol intoxication" — a lethal level of alcohol, according to prosecutor Jodi Breton.

Superior court judge J. Michael Kirkman ordered Sumi to face three felony DUI manslaughter charges and set March 23 for her next court appearance.

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1

This is one of the worst cases of a drunk driver killing other people that I can remember. Yet she's up on manslaughter charges, not murder. Howcom, Bahnee? Less egregious motor vehicle deaths have been charged as second degree murder, and convictions have been obtained. This one looks like a slam dunk to me. A little female favoritism here? Who knows.

March 6, 2011

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