Man who killed Murrieta teen in DUI crash sentenced to 10 years

Lily Kelly Harrison, 15, a student at Calvary Murrieta High School, was killed in a Saturday, June 1, crash in Temecula involving a Fallbrook man who pleaded guilty to felony driving under the influence of alcohol and felony vehicular manslaughter. Courtesy photo

MURRIETA (CNS) – A 20-year-old man was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison today for killing a teenager in a drunken driving collision near Temecula.

Jose Alberto Zazueta of Fallbrook was arrested June 1, 2019 for a crash that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured five others.

Zazueta was later charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI resulting in great bodily injury, along with several sentence-enhancing allegations.

He pleaded guilty to all charges Jan. 24. His sentence of 10 years and eight months in state prison was not a part of a deal with prosecutors, according to John Hall, spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Zazueta was heading westbound on Rancho California Road, just east of Via Santa Rosa, shortly after 6 p.m., when he allegedly accelerated his 2015 BMW 328i in excess of 55 mph while rounding a curve on the two-lane road.

An 18-year-old Murrieta man in a 2005 Toyota Corolla was eastbound on the roadway, with a posted speed limit of 40 mph, when the BMW veered into his lane, Officer Mike Lassig said at the time.

“The driver of the Toyota was unable to take any evasive action as the left front of the BMW collided head-on into the right front of the Toyota,” Lassig said. “The collision caused the BMW to propel off the roadway and down an ascending embankment, where it came to rest on its roof. The collision propelled the Toyota in a westerly direction and into the westbound
traffic lane.”

Lily Harrison, 15, was seated in the right front passenger seat of the Corolla and suffered major blunt-force injuries and died at the scene, according to information from Lassig and the criminal complaint against Zazueta.

The driver of the Toyota and an 18-year-old man in the back seat were taken to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar for treatment of moderate to major injuries.

Zazueta was not hurt, but his three passengers suffered moderate injuries and were treated at Inland Valley Medical Center, according to Lassig.

He has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.