Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Wednesday, October 19 that Javier Artemio Cortes pleaded guilty to murdering two women and driving under the influence and seriously injuring two other women.
On March 15, 2019, Cortes killed 17-year-old Madison Coleman and 21-year-old Monica Gonzalez as a result of running a red light at over 100 mph while under the influence of alcohol. Cortes inflicted serious injuries on the car’s passengers, 20-year-old Makayla Everhart and 18-year-old Kimberly Olivo.
It happened in Santa Maria at the intersection of Donovan and Miller streets.
Under California law, a driver can be charged with manslaughter under these circumstances when the evidence establishes that they acted with knowledge and reckless disregard for human life.
In a news release, Santa Barbara County officials said Cortes left the party drunk and was offered a place to stay the night. He refused and drove home under the influence.
Although he arrived home safely, he decided to leave his home while still under the influence of alcohol. He then proceeded to drive over 100 mph on Donovan Street in Santa Maria.
At 3 a.m., Cortes ran a red light, running over four women in a Jeep Cherokee.
Despite wearing seat belts, Gonzalez and Olivo were ejected from the Jeep. Gonzalez died at the scene.
Kolman, the driver, was transported to Marijan Medical Center, where she also died from her traumatic injuries.
Olivo was taken to Cottage Hospital, where she survived after extensive surgery over a long period of time.
Everhart was taken to Marian Medical Center and suffered serious injuries, but she survived.
County officials say Cortes is expected to serve 21 years to life in prison after he is sentenced Nov. 16 of this year.
“This plea is just one more step toward healing for all the families whose lives were tragically changed forever,” said District Attorney Dudley.
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