WESTMINSTER — A drunken driver was sentenced May 30 for killing a 25-year-old woman and severely injuring her 24-year-old fiancé by hitting their motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol.
Tadashi Mizutani, 69, Huntington Beach, pleaded guilty on May 9 to one felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated without gross negligence, one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury, one felony count of driving with blood alcohol .08 percent or more causing bodily injury, and a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury.
He was sentenced to serve one year in jail and five years in state prison, stayed pending completion of three years formal probation.
At approximately 8:30 p.m. on June 1, 2013, Mizutani was driving his sports car northbound on Goldenwest Street in Huntington Beach. While turning left at the intersection of Goldenwest Street and Rio Vista Drive, Mizutani failed to yield for Taylor Rolfson and Kelly Morehouse as they legally passed through the intersection on their motorcycle. Mizutani cut off the motorcycle and, despite Rolfson’s efforts, the vehicles collided, causing the couple to be thrown from the motorcycle.
Mizutani caused the crash that killed Morehouse and resulted in Rolfson breaking both of his legs.
Shortly after the crash, Huntington Beach Police Department officers arrived at the scene. Mizutani had a blood alcohol content of .13 percent.
At the sentencing, the mother and father of Morehouse gave impact statements to the court. They told the court that nothing compares to the loss of a child and it’s a life sentence that they have to serve because of the callous acts of the defendant.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.