Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release, Case # 11HF1409: November 15, 2013
ORANGE COUNTY – A drunken driver was sentenced today to 21 years to life in state prison for murdering a teenager and injuring four others in a Memorial Day weekend crash. Austin Jeffrey Farley, 28, Irvine, was found guilty by a jury Oct. 7, 2013, of one felony count each of second degree murder and driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury with a sentencing enhancement for personally inflicting and causing great bodily injury and driving with blood alcohol .08 percent or more causing bodily injury. The case was tried in Los Angeles County.
On the evening of May 28, 2011, Farley left his truck at a friend’s Irvine home, took a cab to a bar with his girlfriend, and consumed alcohol. Farley left the bar with his girlfriend and took a cab back to his truck. He got into his truck and drove his girlfriend to get food while under the influence of alcohol.
At approximately 1:15 a.m. on May 29, 2011, Farley drove southbound on Culver Drive toward Irvine Boulevard with his girlfriend. Mohammad G., the 48-year-old father of 15-year-old Parisa G., was driving home northbound on Culver Drive toward Irvine Boulevard with his daughter and her three teenage friends. At the intersection, Farley illegally made a left-hand turn against a red light into Mohammad G.’s Mercedes-Benz sedan, which was legally entering the intersection on a green light. Farley slammed into the driver’s side of Mohammad G.’s car with the four teenage girls inside.
The impact of the crash caused fatal injuries to the left rear passenger, 14-year-old Ashton Sweet, who suffered brain swelling, a skull fracture, collapsed lung, facial, rib, and spinal fractures, and traumatic brain injury. Krista M., a 14-year-old passenger who was sitting in the middle rear seat, suffered a broken nose, a rib fracture, a lacerated spleen, lung injuries, and was rendered unconscious. Mohammad G. and the other two girls, Allison R., 15, seated in the rear right seat, and Parisa G., seated in the front passenger seat, suffered minor injuries.
The Irvine Police Department (IPD) were notified and arrived at the scene. The victims were taken to Western Medical Center Santa Ana, where Mohammad G., Parisa G., and Allison R. were treated and released. Krista M. was admitted into the Intensive Care Unit. At 5:00 a.m. Sweet was pronounced brain dead due to the injuries she sustained in the crash.
At the scene, Farley displayed objective signs of intoxication including disorientation, emitting a strong odor of alcohol, slurred speech, and bloodshot, watery eyes. The defendant was unable to keep his balance when he got out of his car. Approximately one hour and 45 minutes after the crash, Farley had a blood alcohol content of .20 percent, two and a half times the legal limit.
Farley had prior knowledge that driving while under the influence of alcohol could result in the death of another person based on a prior misdemeanor driving under the influence charge, to which he pleaded guilty on June 18, 2009 (Case # 09HM02456). At his sentencing in that case, the judge advised Farley that he could be prosecuted for murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence. He also learned about the dangers of drinking and driving in alcohol awareness courses as a condition of his sentence.
At the sentencing today, Sweet’s mother Elizabeth gave a victim impact statement to the court and said, “When you talk about nightmares, they have already passed. This nightmare does not pass. My soul feels weary, as if I’ve lived far too long.”
Victim Alison R. also gave an impact statement and said that it is hard to watch a friend die in your arms and not be able to help her in any way.
The case was investigated by IPD. Senior Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney 401 Civic Center Drive West Santa Ana, CA 92701