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Driver guilty of manslaughter Neal Putnam | Sat, Sep 24 2011 12:00 PM

The drunk driver of a car that was overloaded with eight people inside it has pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the death of a Chula Vista teenager who was killed when the car she was riding in clipped another car and crashed.

Roman R. Martinez, 28, of San Diego, has agreed to accept a stipulated prison term of 14 years and four months, said Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright.

Eileen Dominique Miranda, 18, of Chula Vista, died on Sept. 25, 2010, in a Honda Accord that was meant to seat five people but held eight.

At the time of the accident she was sitting on someone's lap without wearing a seat belt.

The victim's mother was present to hear the guilty plea.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 19 by Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Timothy Walsh.

Bright said Martinez will have to serve 80 percent of the 14-year, four-month prison term before he can be paroled.

The Accord belonged to a relative of Martinez. He tried to pass a Chevrolet Astro van on Interstate 805 around 5:15 p.m. near East H Street when he clipped the front end of the van.

Martinez's vehicle spun out and went down an embankment and caught fire.

The other passengers got out and some were hospitalized, but Miranda died at the scene. The van struck a center divider. A National City couple who were in the van was also injured.

A second-degree murder charge was filed against Martinez because he had a prior drunk driving conviction, but that was dismissed when he pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter. Had he been convicted of second-degree murder, he would have faced a prison term of 15 years to life.

His blood alcohol level was .09, which is above the legal limit for felony drunk driving, said the prosecutor. Passengers in the Accord testified on May 26 in the preliminary hearing.

Martinez remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility on $2.5 million bail.

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