A Newport Coast woman who was drunk and distracted when she crashed into bicyclist pleaded guilty Tuesday to vehicular manslaughter, the Orange County District Attorney's office reported.
Danae Marie Miller, 23, appeared at the Harbor Justice Center and was sentenced to four years in state prison for vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated. She also had her license revoked for three years. Miller could have faced up to 10 years in prison.
Prosecutors said Miller was texting on her cell phone at the time of the Feb. 21, 2011, accident, which killed 44-year-old Britel, also of Newport Coast. Britel had been riding his bike on San Joaquin Hills Road near Spy Glass Hill Road.
Miller, then 22 and driving a 2008 Volkswagen Jetta, was distracted from repeatedly text-messaging and veered into the bicycle lane, hitting Britel from behind, prosecutors said.
According to the district attorney's office, before the crash Miller drank alcohol at her place of employment, Zinc Cafe in Corona del Mar. Following the accident, Miller showed signs of intoxication, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and the odor of alcohol. Nearly two hours after the crash, her blood alcohol level registered 0.10, slightly above California's legal limit of 0.08.
Before the fatal crash Miller had been cited for 15 traffic violations, according to court records.
Britel was a triathlete and local businessman. He enjoyed riding his bike along the hills of Newport Coast, running the sands of Crystal Cove and swimming in the ocean off Corona del Mar. For months, a white bicycle marked the spot where Britel died.