California mom watched accident that killed her son
SANTA ANA – A third-striker was sentenced Friday to 35 years to life in state prison for killing an 18-year-old graduate of Huntington Beach High School by crashing into the victim’s stopped car at over 60 mph while under the influence of methamphetamine, marijuana, and other drugs.
The youth whose car was turning into a restaurant parking lot, was meeting with his mother and aunt for dinner. Both of them saw the accident from the restaurant window.
Danny Lewis Malone, 56, of Orange, was found guilty by a jury in February 2009 of one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated.
He has two prior strike convictions for robbery in 1978 and attempted residential burglary in 1986. Malone also has prior prison convictions for commercial burglaries in 1974 and 1976, receiving stolen property in 1984, commercial burglary in 1991, and possession of a controlled substance in 1998.
At approximately 6:00 p.m. on March 11, 2006, Malone was driving over 60 mph on Beach Boulevard in Stanton while impaired and under the influence of numerous drugs.
At the intersection of Beach Boulevard and Village Center Drive, Malone crashed into the back of a Mercury sedan driven by Nicholas Russell, the Orange County DA’s office said.
“The victim was stopped at a left-turn red light waiting to turn into a parking lot. Malone crashed into Russell in his Ford sport utility vehicle at 61 miles per hour without slowing, hitting his brakes, or attempting to avoid the collision in any way,” the DA said in a statement.
The victim’s car spun out and came to a stop at the center divider.
At the scene of the crash, Russell was talking and coherent and appeared to have suffered minimal physical damage. Upon being transported to the hospital, however, it was revealed that the victim had sustained bleeding in his brain. Russell went into a coma, underwent several hours of brain surgery in an effort to save his life, and died one week later, having never come out of his coma.
A test of the suspect’s blood after the crash showed that he was under the influence of nine different drugs including methamphetamine, marijuana, muscle relaxers, and pain killers.
During the sentencing today, the victim’s aunt and uncle gave victim impact statements. His uncle, Tom Russell, asked the court impose the maximum possible sentence and explained that karma should come in the form of justice.
The victim’s aunt, Patti Russell, described her nephew as loving acting, music, and said that he was excited about the radio show he had recently started hosting at Orange Coast College.
She explained that on the day of the crash, Nicholas had been on his way to meet her and his mother for dinner, and was waiting at the red light to turn in to the restaurant parking lot.
She stated that from the restaurant window she could see the wreckage from the crash and could see that it was her nephew’s car that had been hit. They followed him to the hospital with the expectation that he would be okay, and found out there that he was in a coma.
His mother never got to speak to her son again.
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