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Capistrano Beach Woman Gets 18 Years for DUI Murder

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. – An Orange County woman convicted of killing a grandmother who was with her blind grandson during Fourth of July celebrations was sentenced on Nov. 20 to 18 years in prison for her crime.

The drunken hit-and-run driver, K. Michele Wolfe, 47, of Capistrano Beach was found guilty by a jury on one count each of:

  • Driving without a valid driver’s license;
  • Driving under the influence with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more;
  • Driving under the influence causing bodily injury; and
  • Second-degree murder, also known as a “Watson murder.”

Wolfe also received a sentencing enhancement for driving with a BAC of 0.15% or more.

On July 4, 2013 at around 8:30 p.m. M. Demchuk, 76, was standing in a gutter on El Camino Real as her 13-year-old blind grandson was standing on the curb, holding her arm. The pair were there for a Fourth of July celebration. Wolfe, who was driving a Volkswagen van, drove over the grandmother and without stopping, headed home.

Due to the collision, the van’s horn went off and Wolfe drove all the way home with the horn blaring. Orange County sheriff’s deputies eventually arrested Wolfe at her residence. At about 10:40 p.m., approximately 2 hours after the deadly hit-and-run crash, her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) registered at .31%.

Demchuck died as a result of the injuries sustained from the crash. Her grandson was transported to a local hospital to treat injuries to his face, mouth and legs. Fortunately, his injuries were not life-threatening and he survived the crash.

Wolfe’s Second-Degree Murder Charges

This wasn’t the Wolfe’s first DUI. She was convicted of DUI in Nevada in 1995. When Wolfe renewed her California driver’s license in 2008, she acknowledged that the state could charge her with murder if she ever killed another person while driving under the influence.

If this was the first time Wolfe was ever convicted of DUI, she likely would have been charged with vehicular manslaughter under Penal Code 191.5 PC.

Since Wolfe was convicted of DUI before and acknowledged that she could be charged with murder if she killed another person while under the influence, she was charged with “second degree murder,” which is worse than vehicular manslaughter.

If you’re facing vehicular manslaughter or second-degree murder charges in Orange County, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to work with one of OC’s top DUI defense firms!