Driver pleads guilty in wrong-way fatal collision on SR-52

SAN DIEGO - A woman who drove the wrong-way while drunk – causing a head-on collision that killed another driver – pleaded guilty Monday to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

April Carole Thompson, 23, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison when she is sentenced Sept. 6 by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein.

Thompson, in her plea on the eve of trial, also admitted allegations of use of a deadly weapon, causing great bodily injury and driving with a blood-alcohol level of .15 percent or higher.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Runyon said Thompson was driving west in the eastbound lanes of state Route 52 around 1 a.m. last Dec. 29 when she crashed her Chevrolet truck head-on into a 1970 Volkswagen Beetle driven by 25-year-old Jayme Alan Midlam.

Midlam died at the scene, and Thompson was treated at a hospital for moderate injuries.

CHP Officer Albert Udan testified at a hearing in January that the driver of a big rig told him that he saw oncoming headlights and immediately slowed to 35 mph and pulled over the right side of the freeway. The big rig driver said the victim's car passed him and was hit head-on by Thompson's truck.

Udan said when he arrived on scene, the vehicles were stuck together.

After the crash, Thompson started her truck again and tried to back out of the wreckage, but was unsuccessful, according to court testimony.

CHP Officer Shad Davidson testified that two men trying to get Thompson out of her truck told him that she kept saying "she just wanted to go home."

CHP Officer Jason Gutierrez testified that he arrested Thompson at the hospital, believing that she was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.

Thompson's blood-alcohol level was estimated to be .24 or .25 percent – three times the legal limit for driving – at the time of the collision, Runyon said.

The defendant told officers that she had only one glass of vodka about 4:30 p.m. the previous afternoon and was on her way from her home in National City to her boyfriend's home in El Cajon when the accident occurred.

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