SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced today to eight years in state prison for crashing into a woman’s vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), killing her dog and causing her arm to be amputated.
Circumstances of the Case
- On Oct. 25, 2015, at approximately 4:30 a.m., Swartz was speeding on the Southbound 405 freeway in Westminster with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .13%. He was driving on a suspended license and had a prior DUI conviction.
- The defendant’s vehicle began to swerve across multiple lanes due to unsafe speed and intoxication.
- Jane Doe was also driving on the Southbound 405 to the emergency vet with her dog, Sadie, at the time of the crime.
- Swartz collided with Jane Doe’s vehicle, which rolled multiple times, pinned the victim upside down by her seat belt, and ejected her dog, who did not survive the crash.
- Emergency medical responders and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) responded to the scene and Swartz was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).
- Jane Doe was transported to a trauma center and received expansive medical treatment for injuries including a crushed arm, collapsed lung, severed scalp, broken ribs, fractured sternum, and brain injuries that led to a medically-induced coma.
- The victim’s left arm was amputated as a result of her injuries.
At the sentencing today, Jane Doe gave a powerful victim impact statement pursuant to Marsy’s Law. She stated in part, “Besides my many surgeries while in the hospital, my hospitalization wasn’t over. I returned 4 more times for other procedures the following year.” Among many challenges, Jane Doe described how the accident changed her, stating in part, “As you can imagine, since getting injured, there were many things about driving that now made me nervous. The confidence I once had driving was ripped away from me.”
She continued, “My goal is to keep challenging myself every day. I know I must ask for help sometimes, but I will strive to be as independent as I can and make the most of this life that I have. Sometimes I watch videos of people with severe handicaps achieving amazing success in their lives. I know I will too!”
Jane Doe concluded her statement by thanking everyone who has helped her recovery, and stated, “There is no set amount of years that can give me back all that I lost financially, emotionally and or physically for the rest of my life. He needs to take responsibility. I am still afraid. I’ve got a long way to go.”
Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Harris Siddiq. Case # 15WF2361