San Marcos woman sentenced for DUI crash on SR-78 that killed 3
Debbie Sumi to serve 10-year prison term
Last Updated: 306 days ago
VISTA, Calif. - A San Marcos mother of four who caused a drunken driving crash on state Route 78 that killed three people, including her fiance, was sentenced Friday to 10 years in state prison.
Debbie Sumi, 36, was convicted in October of three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Deputy District Attorney Jodi Breton told a jury that Sumi had been celebrating her engagement and was drunk behind the wheel when her car crashed on westbound state Route 78 near Sycamore Avenue just before midnight on Aug. 12, 2010.
Sumi's attorney maintained the defendant's fiance was the one driving the couple's 1994 Jeep Cherokee when it drifted off the highway and into the back of a 2008 Nissan Altima that had pulled onto the shoulder of the road.
Sumi was thrown from her car, presumably through the driver's side window, according to the CHP. Her fiance, 34-year-old Larry Alvarez, was partially ejected and died at the scene, Two women standing next to the Altima, Susana Orozco of Escondido and Erica Oliva of Fallbrook, both 23, were also killed.
Following the crash, Sumi's blood-alcohol level was measured at .27 and .28 percent, Breton said.
Friday's court proceedings began with two emotional video tributes to Orozco and Olivia, who were were co-workers and friends.
Orozco's voice rang out in the courtroom, as her video included her own rendition of "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera.
Sumi wiped away tears as she heard Orozco's voice. Then, Sumi sat through tearful remarks by the friends and family of the women she killed.
"Not only did you kill my sister, Suzy, but you killed my parents' will," said Victor Orozco, Susana's brother.
He said he couldn't bring himself to look at Sumi, who was sitting just a few feet away during his remarks.
The mother of Erica Oliva turned her entire body and addressed Sumi directly.
"I'm here to let Debbie know what she has done to me," said Margret Olivia. "Ms. Debbie, you killed me when you took my Erica from me that night."
Sumi apologized to their families in court, saying, "I would like to tell you from the bottom of my heart, and with all I have left in me, that I'm sorry for your pain."
Sumi then spoke about Alvarez.
"I loved Larry," said Sumi. "He was my best friend and my other half."
Sumi also apologized to her children for leaving them to be raised by their grandparents.
Authorities said Sumi did not have a driver's license and was not insured the night of the crash.
The families of the victims and two others who were injured but survived could not file a claim with her insurance.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. City News Service contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.