O.C. man charged with manslaughter, DUI in deaths of three women
An Orange County driver has been charged with manslaughter after allegedly striking and killing a mother, her daughter and a niece who were returning from a baby shower, Orange County prosecutors said Wednesday.
Authorities said Anthony Lewis Sanchez's blood level was twice the legal limit.
Sanchez, 40, is charged with three felony counts of vehicular manslaughter causing death with gross negligence while intoxicated, in addition to two other felony counts related to driving while intoxicated, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office.
If convicted he faces a maximum sentence of 12 years and eight months in state prison, prosecutors said.
Sanchez, a resident of Buena Park, is being held on $500,000 bail and is expected to be arraigned Wednesday.
Prosecutors said that shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday, Sanchez was speeding down Western Avenue as he approached the intersection with Del Monte Drive. The three relatives — Carmen Mendoza, 56, and Sheyla Mendoza and Stephanie Henriquez, both 21 — were crossing the street after leaving a baby shower.
Prosecutors said that Sanchez failed to stop and barely slowed before striking the women at a high rate of speed.
Sheyla Mendoza was pronounced dead at the scene; Carmen Mendoza and Henriquez died later at UC Irvine Medical Center.
Shortly after the incident, prosecutors said Sanchez was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .17%, more than twice the legal limit of .08%.
In the following days, a memorial of candles, homemade posters and photos, placed on the sidewalk near the site where the three were hit, swelled in size.Nathalia Ochoa remembered Sheyla Mendoza, with whom she had played high school basketball. "She was always there for her good friends," she said.
Ochoa brought three candles to the memorial, one for each victim.
— Rick Rojas and Nicole Santa Cruz
Photo: Booking photo of Anthony Sanchez, 40, who was to be arraigned on felony manslaughter and drunk driving charges Wednesday. Credit: Anaheim Police Department