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Teenage driver charged with manslaughter in O.C. drunk-driving case

Rafael Lopez booking photo A teenage driver who was allegedly driving drunk was charged Tuesday with killing a father and son in Orange County after slamming into their vehicle in a high-speed crash.

The early-morning crash occurred Sunday as Rafael Lopez was driving on Crescent Avenue in Buena Park. He is charged with plowing into a Buick sedan driven by Steven Uselton, 44, who was with his son, Douglas Uselton, 17, the Orange County district attorney's office said.

The Useltons were driving to a high school debate tournament.

Lopez, 18, was charged with two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter for allegedly driving while intoxicated, the district attorney's office said.

-- Robert J. Lopez

Photo: Rafael Lopez. Credit: Orange County district attorney's office

Comments () | Archives (15)

I feel for both families, there lives will never be the same. Now is the time we start treating this as murder, Mr. Lopez killed these two people and he should now face the time with MANY years in jail, not 1,5 or 10 years but the time a murderer would face. These cities are worried about marijuana when the real danger is right under there nose.

He'll get about a year in prison minus time served.

My condolences to the Uselton Family. If Rafael Lopez is found guilty, may he receive the maximum punishment.

My thoughts & prayers are w the Useltons, I cant even imagine what this family must be going thru. I have 2 boys and they are my whole life, oither than Jesus Christ. What in GODs name was this 17yr old rafael lopez thinking, dont these kids know what drinking & driving does or may do. he will never see the light of day again, i think this story should be shown to all jr high & highn schools. i will keep all involved in my prayers.

I hope he gets life.

Too many people are being killed by drunk drivers. The state should make a first offence of drunk driving 9 mos in jail. This might save someones life and give drunk drivers a chance to dry out while sitting behind bars

When will people learn?

This was not his first time, and for being stupid two people are dead. He should receive the maximum time, and serve it All.

No excuse. Let's spare him the gas chamber, but imprison both him AND his parents for five years. What a despicable act.

This is totally outrageous, and unbelievable to know this kid knowing what drinking, and driving could do, and I'm sure he has definitely heard the phrase "Don't Drink & Drive", for him TOO!! drink & drive, then take the lives of a father, and son, and destroy the lives of their family during this holiday time.

I really hope they throw the book of justice at him really hard, and I hope we don't start getting this how great of a kid he is, because great kids don't drink, and they certainly don't drink & drive, two things they certain know NOT to do.

Being arrested for a Felony DUI in Irvine California is a life changing event. First, although you were arrested in Irvine, your court will be either the Newport Beach, Harbor Justice Center or the hearing will be held out of the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, California Not only are you looking at a minimum of a one year loss of drivers license, you could be looking at multiple years in jail. When arrested for a DUI in Orange County, you will need to immediately speak to an experienced Orange County DUI Attorney or Irvine DUI Attorney about the possible consequences of your Felony Orange County DUI arrest. For more information, please see http://dui-attorney-newport-beach.com or http://2nd-dui.com/4th-dui-felony-dui/.

The simple reality is that it is not enough to tell people to not drink and drive. Alcohol affects people's judgment, they don't realize how unsafe it is for them to get behind a wheel. The only sure way to keep this from happening is built-in breathalyzers in cars. It sounds ridiculous but it truly is the only surefire solution.

As a friend of Steve Uselton I think this idiot should have to be forced to sit through the memorials that we are sitting through and have to go to the funeral. This idiot has pleaded not guilty. At what point do we become vigilantes and take the law into our own hands?

Weed is illegal, and beer isn't. Sleep tight sheeple.

I'm not sure how many people have to suffer before something is really done about this. But who handles it...the people, the justice system?? This family is now going through a torture that shouldn't be. Speaking from experience, this stays with you through life, there is no closure, only learning to live with the pain. The Lopez parents, who obviously had no control of their child, can now visit him in prison, whereas the Uselton's only have memories.


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