The woman involved in a deadly car crash on the highway in April is facing a much lighter sentence than she initially could have. Kimberly Kreis, 52, has been charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and three misdemeanor charges involving drugs and driving under the influence, the District Attorney’s office announced Thursday. Kreis is facing a maximum sentence of three years in state prison.
In the early morning hours of April 21, Kreis was arrested for DUI gross vehicle manslaughter causing great bodily injury after she slammed her Ford Mustang into a stopped car, holding four passengers, on the highway. Danielle Murillo, 20, Brian Lopez, 17, and Jessica Leffew, 17, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Just before the incident, four people were in a car traveling southbound in a Mazda 6 around 12:45 a.m. The driver, Erik August, 20, of Torrance, is believed to have fallen asleep at the wheel, and the car had veered to the right shoulder of the highway near the Castillo Street interchange. The car smashed into the guard rail, flipped over, and ultimately stopped in the middle of the highway. There is no indication that August was impaired, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Arnie Tolks. August was severely injured, and the current status of his condition is unknown.
A lengthy investigation by the California Highway Patrol determined that Kreis may have been responsible for the deaths, but prosecutors did not think they could prove Kreis was criminally liable. The investigation had determined even a sober person might not have been able to avoid hitting the car, said Tolks.
Kreis has an extensive history of substance abuse dating back to the 1990s, according to court records. She has been out of custody and appears in court for arraignment on October 8.