Hector Ortiz concedes that he was intoxicated and severely impaired on the night he smashed his car into Taylor Moss's vehicle. Traveling east at 80 mph in the westbound lane, Ortiz struck Moss head-on.
The high-speed car accident obliterated the front of her car, fatally injuring Moss and severely injuring her two passengers. As is often the case in DUI-related car accidents, the drunk driver - Ortiz - was able to walk away from the crash site.
The police officers who responded to the accident reported that Ortiz was callous and unconcerned when they arrived, dismissing Moss and her passengers' severe injuries. Yesterday, a Los Angeles judge ordered Ortiz to stand trial for murder.
It is rare to see the driver at fault in a fatal car accident charged with murder. Still, Judge Leland Harris felt that Ortiz's disregard for the safety of others and his lack of remorse following the accident amounted to malice, which is needed to try someone for murder.
The defense had sought a focus on vehicular manslaughter, which carries a maximum penalty of only 10 years in prison. If convicted of murder, Ortiz could face life behind bars. He is 27-years-old.
The judge's decision came after two days of testimony from those familiar with the crash, as well as presentations by both the prosecution and defense.
Ortiz has pled not guilty.
- Simi man will be tried for murder in Hwy. 101 crash (Ventura County Star)