Orange County District Attorney Press Release
For Immediate Release: June 26, 2012
Contacts: Susan Kang Schroeder, Chief of Staff, Office: 714-347-8408, Cell: 714-292-2718
Farrah Emami, Spokesperson, Office: 714-347-8405, Cell: 714-323-4486
DRUNKEN DRIVER CHARGED WITH MURDERING 5-YEAR-OLD GIRL AND INJURING SISTER AND MOTHER BY DRIVING THROUGH RED LIGHT AND CRASHING IN CROSSWALK
SANTA ANA – A drunken driver was charged today with murdering a 5-year-old girl and severely injuring the child’s sister and mother by crashing into them in a crosswalk after driving through a red light. Jessicah Louise Cowan, 33, Lake Hughes, is charged with one felony count each of murder, driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, driving with a blood alcohol level over .08 percent causing bodily injury, hit and run causing injury, an infraction for possession of marijuana while driving, and sentencing enhancements and allegations for having a blood alcohol level over .20 percent and causing bodily injury. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison. The People will be requesting Cowan be held on $1 million bail at her arraignment today, Tuesday, June 26, 2012, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
At approximately 11:00 a.m. on June 23, 2012, Cowan is accused of driving erratically in Santa Ana while under the influence of alcohol. She is accused of driving on 17th Street and running through a red light before losing control and crashing into the center median. She is accused of continuing on 17th Street and driving through another red light at Spurgeon Street. Three victims, including 5-year-old Osmara Meza, her 6-year-old sister Gresia, and her mother Eloisa, were holding hands and legally walking through a crosswalk on a green light with a walk sign.
Cowan is accused of crashing into the three victims when she ran the red light, throwing them from the intersection into the street. The defendant is accused of then attempting to flee the scene in her a car. A witness used their own car to block the road to prevent Cowan from fleeing.
The Santa Ana Police Department responded to the scene and arrested Cowan. At the time of her arrest, the defendant is accused of possessing marijuana in her vehicle.
Osmara was pronounced dead at the scene. Gresia and Eloisa were transported to the hospital to be treated for traumatic brain injuries. Both remain hospitalized. Eloisa is in critical condition and Gresia is recovering.
Murder may be charged in cases of implied malice, where the defendant intentionally commits an act that is dangerous to human life, knowing it is dangerous to human life, and acts with conscious disregard for human life.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Troy Pino of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.