Intoxicated Motorist Pleads Guilty of Killing Man After Three Years

A San Juan Capistrano woman, who was accused of killing a bicyclist with her car back in October of 2007, finally pleaded guilty in a court hearing on March 16, 2011. What her punishment will be remains unknown, since she made an open plea.

The 30-year-old woman, Michelle Nicole Stearns, was accused of drunken driving when she crashed into a bicyclist and killed him. Reports indicate that the woman ran her car off the road on Del Obispo Street near Quail Run. Officials said that Stearns lost control of her BMW and jumped a curb. Her car hit a traffic sign and then crashed into a cyclist.

Jose Umberto Barranco-Patino, 32, was the bicyclist who was killed in the Dana Point bicycle and car crash. This horrific crash also caused power outages for approximately 600 customers in the Dana Point area.

According to an Orange County sheriff’s spokesman, Stearns’s blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit at the time of the accident. Over three years later, Stearns pled guilty to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. Stearns was sent to a 90-day diagnostic program to see if the Department of Corrections thinks she is eligible for probation.

She is scheduled for sentencing on June 17, 2011.

The Law Offices of John P. Burns would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Jose Umberto Barranco-Patino.

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