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Driver gets four years in deadly Orange County freeway crash

A Laguna Niguel man was sentenced Friday to four years in state prison for a 2007 collision that killed an elderly man, critically injured his wife and killed their friend as they sat inside a disabled vehicle on the freeway.

Trevor Mark Coffman, 38, pleaded guilty in October to two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury to an elder, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Sally Lee Howd, 76; her husband, Frank Howd, 82; and friend Catherine Malloy, 72, were driving southbound on the 5 Freeway on March 15, 2007 at 11 p.m. when the Volvo they were riding in crashed into a car with no emergency flashers that had come to a stop in the carpool lane south of El Toro Road, prosecutors said.

About 20 minutes after the initial crash, Coffman collided with the Volvo -– with the victims still inside waiting for a tow truck, said Susan Kang Schroeder, spokeswoman with the district attorney’s office.

Malloy died at the scene and Frank Howd died the following day, authorities said. Sally Howd sustained a skull fracture, broken ribs and cuts to the face but survived.

  Coffman had a blood-alcohol level of .10% and tested positive for marijuana, authorities said.

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Comments () | Archives (9)

There is no excuse for drunk driving and four years seems light considering the lives lost. On a side note this could have been avoided from the beginning; it sounds like the car that had no hazard lights on probably drove with a dead alternator. When your check engine light turns on you should be figuring out how to pull over or safely exit the freeway as quickly as possible not driving in the carpool lane way far from anywhere to pull over to. I've seen cars broken down at night in the middle of the freeway with no lights on which in itself can cause a fatal situation.

"no emergency flashers"? What do you expect dawg! Sad situation though....

If Mr. Coffman had not been tested positive for drugs/alcohol, would this of been an deemed an "accident"?

It wasn't deemed an "accident". It was a deemed a "careless".

Hi, I thought I wrote a comment about 4 hours ago. Did you see it? Thanks

So how come the guy who killed that Angel's pitcher gets life in prison and this scumbag only gets 4 years? Preferential treatment to the victims? Is this elderly man's life not worth as much as an athletes?

4 years for a fatal DUI crash which killed 2 people and injured an elderly is too light a sentence -- didn't other drunk drivers like the Andrew Gallo (the driver involved in the fatal accident which killed Nick Adenhart) receive 51 years to life in prison? Drunk drivers, especially habitual offenders, should be kept off the roads as much as possible. An automobile in the wrong hands (whether the driver is drunk or reckless) is as dangerous as the trigger on a gun.

http://www.mesrianilaw.com/Letting-Laws-Be-The-Lesson:-Driving-Under-The-Influence.html

4 years????????????? it does not sound right to me....... manslaughter........

what upsets me is that the volvo was broken down on the car pool lane around 11pm and no one driving that night decided to stop and to help!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that area of the freeway has plenty of lanes to reduce the danger to stop and help. just another example of how people just dont care about others.

i keep 3 road flares in my vehicle that are there if i have an emergency or if i see a vehicle broken down at night that others cant see!!!! i cant try to prevent such an accident by helping others.

Tested positive for marijuana? I thought all of the Prop 19 druggies were saying that no one who smokes dope drives under the infuence.


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