Guadalupe Cruiser

A settlement was reached Oct. 30 between plaintiff Abacuc Lopez Sanchez and defendants Miranda Alexis Miranda and the City of Guadalupe stemming from a Dec. 11, 2016 crash that occurred on Highway 1 near Brown Road. Sanchez, who was not restrained while riding in the backseat of a Guadalupe Police car, won a settlement out of court for $150,000. 

A man who was seriously injured in a DUI crash while sitting in the backseat of a Guadalupe Police car without a safety restraint has won $150,000 in settlement money from the Nipomo teen who caused the crash and the City of Guadalupe. 

Abacuc Lopez Sanchez, of Guadalupe, was not wearing a seatbelt while being transported by Guadalupe Police Officer Efrain Isaac Oseguera during the crash Dec. 11, 2016, near the intersection of Highway 1 and Brown Road, according to the California Highway Patrol. The other driver, Miranda Alexis Miranda, was under the influence before crashing head-on into Oseguera.

Out of the settlement totals, $130,000 will be paid by Miranda, while $20,000 will be paid by the City of Guadalupe, according to City Attorney Philip Sinco.

Guadalupe's "agreement to pay 15 percent of the settlement reflects the appropriate acceptance and distribution of costs," Sinco explained.

The complaint filed July 14, 2017, by Calabasas-based attorney Michael Coons on behalf of Sanchez sought punitive damages from the City, Miranda and her insurance company. The suit also alleged that Sanchez suffered wage loss, loss of use of property, hospital/medical expenses and loss of earning capacity. The complaint further alleged that all individuals involved in the crash acted negligently when operating their vehicles, which left Sanchez injured. 

In the suit, Coons accused the City of negligence, and in direct violation of Guadalupe Police Department policy as Sanchez had not been properly restrained in the back of the patrol vehicle. 

Attorneys representing the teen and the City denied any responsibility and maintained that the direct cause of Sanchez's losses were due to the unavoidable crash. 

Court records indicate that all parties went into mediation before finally reaching a resolution out of court on Oct. 30. A notice of settlement was submitted to the Santa Maria Superior Court on Nov. 1. 

The crash occurred around 2:15 a.m. on Highway 1, south of the Brown Road exit just south of Guadalupe. Oseguera was driving a 2008 Ford Crown Victoria southbound on Highway 1 at about 45 mph. Miranda was reportedly driving a 2001 Toyota Tundra northbound in the southbound lane at about 70 mph.

Oseguera reportedly saw Miranda's approaching truck and attempted to swerve into the northbound lane to avoid crashing, according to the CHP. At the same time, Miranda swerved into the northbound lane where the two vehicles collided head-on.

The police car was mangled: engine parts and oil fluid had spilled across the roadway, the hood was crushed and tires flattened. 

Oseguera reportedly lost consciousness for a few seconds before he awoke to get himself and Sanchez, who was slumped over behind the driver's seat, out of the car as it began smoking. 

As a result of the crash, Sanchez suffered a ruptured trachea, lacerated chin, chest pain and was hospitalized for months, according to medical reports. 

Miranda was sentenced March 2017 after pleading guilty to a felony count of driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.11, causing great bodily injury to both Oseguera and Sanchez. Miranda was also ordered to pay a fine of $41,102.30 to the Guadalupe Police Department for damages. 

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210

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