Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release: October 16, 2014
Case # 12NF0439
SANTA ANA – A drunken driver was convicted and sentenced today to nine years and four months in state prison for killing two friends by crashing into a light pole after losing control of his vehicle. Ryan Manuel Hernandez, 24, Anaheim, was found guilty in a court trial of two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated without gross negligence.
At approximately 2:00 a.m. on Feb. 10, 2012, Ryan Hernandez drove under the influence of alcohol after a night of drinking at a bar in Fullerton to celebrate friend Jose Zuniga’s 24th birthday. He drove while impaired on La Mirada Boulevard in Buena Park with Jose Zuniga in the front passenger seat and 22-year-olds Everado Zuniga and Jose Hernandez in the back seat.
Ryan Hernandez struck a raised median while attempting to change lanes, losing control of his vehicle, and crashing into a light pole. Everado Zuniga and Jose Hernandez were trapped in the back seat of the car and pronounced dead at the scene. Jose Zuniga refused medical attention.
When contacted at the scene by officers from the Buena Park Police Department (BPPD), Ryan Hernandez displayed objective signs of alcohol intoxication including bloodshot and watery eyes and emitting a strong odor of alcohol. The defendant was transported to the hospital to be treated for a sprained arm and was released to the custody of BPPD.
During the sentencing today, the mother of Jose Hernandez delivered an emotional impact statement to the court describing how much time she devoted to her son as a single mother, no longer being able to find joy like she used to, and lacking motivation in life because of the defendant’s actions.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff