Rialto driver gets 30-to-life for high-speed, DUI crash that killed 3 people in Irvine
A Rialto driver who killed three people during a high-speed crash in Irvine has been sentenced to 30-years-to-life in prison after admitting to causing the DUI-fueled, two-car collision not far from the UC Irvine campus.
Jeremy Wayne Greenwood pleaded guilty last week to three second-degree murder counts, as well as a pair of DUI charges, and admitted to a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury in connection with the July 1, 2017 crash on Harvard Avenue at Michelson Drive.
Greenwood, now 35, was accused of driving his 2015 Infiniti Q50 while intoxicated around 3 a.m. on Harvard at approximately 85 miles per hour. He ran a red light, prosecutors alleged, and struck a 2014 Hyundai Elantra that was traveling westbound on Michelson through the intersection on a green light.
The force of the collision caused the Elantra to spin out and go over a sidewalk. Kasean Herrera, the 23-year-old driver of the Elantra, and his passenger, 24-year-old Jeremy Shankling, died at the scene. A second passenger, 20-year-old London Thibodeaux, died at a hospital several days later, while another passenger, a 20-year-old woman, suffered a traumatic brain injury and underwent multiple surgeries.
Witnesses pulled Greenwood from his car and he was taken to a hospital in critical condition. After a five-month investigation, Irvine detectives arrested Greenwood.
Greenwood’s past DUI conviction in Los Angeles – when he was explicitly warned of the dangers of driving drunk and the possible penalty should he be involved in a fatal DUI crash – allowed Orange County prosecutors to file second-degree murder charges against him rather than lesser charges of vehicular manslaughter. Had he been convicted at trial, Greenwood could have faced up to 51-years-to-life behind bars.
Orange County District Attorney Spokeswoman Kimberly Edds said the plea deal Greenwood accepted was negotiated between the prosecution and defense. Family members of the victims supported the deal, Edds said, since it brought finality to the case without going through a court trial or potential appeals process.
Herrera and Shankling were close friends and UC Irvine graduates who were working as software engineers at the time of the crash. Thibodeaux and the woman who survived the crash were UCI students at the time.