Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Tuesday, October 18 that Javier Artemio Cortes pled guilty to the murder of two women and to driving under the influence and causing great bodily injury to 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 speeds over 100 mph while under the influence of alcohol. Cortes caused great bodily injury to the passengers of the car, 20-year-old Makayla Everhart and 18-year-old Kimberly Olivo.
This occurred in Santa Maria at the intersection of Donovan and Miller Streets.
Under California law a driver can be charged with murder under these circumstances when the evidence supports, they acted with the knowledge and reckless disregard for human life.
In a press release, Santa Barbara County officials said Cortes left a party drunk and was offered a place to stay for the night. He declined and drove home under the influence.
Although he made it 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. is when Cortes ran a red light, broadsiding the four women in a Jeep Cherokee.
Despite wearing seatbelts, Gonzalez and Olivo were ejected from the Jeep. Gonzalez died at the scene.
Coleman, the driver, was transported to Marian Medical Center, where she also died from her traumatic injuries.
Olivo was transported to Cottage Hospital, where she survived after having undergone extensive surgeries over a significant period of time.
Everhart was transported to Marian Medical Center and suffered great bodily injuries, but she too survived.
County officials say it is expected that Cortes will be sentenced to 21 years to life in state prison after he is sentenced on November 16, this year.
"This plea is merely just another step towards healing for all of the families whose lives have been forever tragically altered,” District Attorney Dudley said.