DUI offender admits causing wreck in construction zone

MURRIETA – A drunk motorist who caused a crash in a Menifee construction zone that injured two people pleaded guilty Monday, April 17, to felony and misdemeanor charges.

Theresa Miranda, 51, admitted two counts of driving under the influence resulting in great bodily injury and one count of driving on a suspended license just as a preliminary hearing was getting underway to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Kelly Hansen scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 9 at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.

Miranda remains free on a $50,000 bond.

According to California Highway Patrol Officer Mike Lassig, on the night of Dec. 8, 2015, the defendant drove her 2011 Toyota Tacoma pickup through the construction zone on Interstate 215, just north of Scott Road, where one lane had been shut down for repairs.

She approached a slower moving 2013 Hyundai Elantra from behind and failed to see it, Lassig said.

“Miranda was driving at too great a speed for the roadway conditions, and the front of the Tacoma struck the rear of the Hyundai,” Lassig said.

“The impact between the vehicles caused both to spin out of control in a southwesterly direction, toward parked construction equipment.”

A road worker, 40-year-old Armando Cendejas of Hemet, was on the shoulder of the freeway when the vehicles struck a John Deere skip loader and an Ingersoll Rand steam roller. Lassig said Cendejas jumped toward an embankment to get away from flying debris and fell, breaking his ankle.

The Hyundai driver, 28-year-old Anna King of Azusa, also suffered moderate injuries. She and Cendejas were taken to Loma Linda Medical Center in Murrieta for treatment. Both have since recovered.

Miranda escaped injury.

According to court records, the defendant has a prior misdemeanor DUI conviction, resulting in her driver’s license being suspended.

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