Irvine Crash Claims Life of Teen Due to Suspected Drunk Driver

Over the recent Memorial Day weekend, a tragic Orange County car crash claimed the life of a teenager and critically injured another. According to Orange County police officials, the teen was killed by a suspected drunk driver who ran a red light in his pickup truck.

Ashton Sweet, the Irvine teen killed in this crash, was only 15 at the time she died. She was a cheerleader and on the track and field team at Northwood High School, where she was a freshman. She was one of five people in a Mercedes that was hit by the driver of the pickup truck.

The driver of the Mercedes, Michael Ghaena, 48, had just picked up his daughter and her friends after a party they attended when the crash occurred.

According to authorities, the crash occurred at the intersection of Culver Drive and Irvine Boulevard. Sadly, Sweet sustained irreversible brain damage in this fatal Irvine car crash and died after she was removed from life support. A funeral was held on Monday, June 6, 2011, to honor her life.

Krista Merassa, the other 15-year-old girl who was injured in this crash, is listed in critical condition still, as she sustained a punctured lung and broken ribs in the wreck.

Austin Jeffrey Farley, 26, was the driver of the pickup truck, and has been accused of having a BAC level of 2.5 times over the legal limit. Farley has been convicted of drunk driving charges before, along with grand theft, battery, and other criminal offenses.

He is now charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and one felony count of murder. If convicted of the charges, he may face 22 years to life in state prison.


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