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Wrong-way driver faces murder charge in O.C. freeway fatality

February 3, 2012 | 11:57 am

Ruben GurollaA Pomona man who allegedly spent the night drinking in Newport Beach has been charged with driving the wrong way on the 91 Freeway and slamming head-on into an oncoming car, killing a 53-year-old woman.

Ruben Gurrola, 23, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on murder charges and driving under the influence. He is being held on $1-million bail.

Prosecutors said Gurrola was drinking for several hours at a Newport Beach bar Jan. 28 with his friends and a girlfriend before taking a cab inland to a friend's house.

When he got there, authorities said, he got into a Honda sedan with his girlfriend and headed north in the southbound lanes of the 241 tollway.

Gurrola then allegedly drove onto 91 Freeway into oncoming traffic and hit a Toyota sedan driven by 57-year-old Young Kim. Kim’s passenger, Kyung Namgood, was killed.

Authorities said that more than 90 minutes after the crash, at 3:15 a.m., Gurolla's blood-alcohol level was .17, more than double the legal limit.

Court records show Gurolla was cited by Newport Beach police in 2007 for being younger than 21 and having alcohol.


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-- Joseph Serna

Photo: Ruben Gurrola. Credit: Orange County district attorney's office