An ex-Newport Beach policewoman was convicted this week of vehicular manslaughter for a drunken-driving crash that killed a man and injured three others in San Diego County, according to the North County Times.
Katherine Ann Heinzel, 51, of Winchester was convicted on Tuesday and faces up to 19 years in state prison when she is sentenced, the newspaper reported. Heinzel was arrested last November on Interstate 15 in Fallbrook after she rear-ended a Toyota Camry at about 1:50 a.m., causing both cars to plow through a guardrail and down a steep embankment.
Davieonne Dwayne Kelly, 20, was behind the wheel of the Camry Heinzel smashed into. He died at the scene. Two of his passengers, a 19 and 20-year-old man from Perris, and Heinzel were injured in the crash, officials reported.
"It was a hard case for us, the jury members," jury forewoman JoEllen Adelman told the North County Times after the trial. "We felt, collectively, so sorry for her (Heinzel) because she made a mistake ---- and such a gross mistake ---- and we felt even worse for the family (of the man who died)."
Heinzel was not employed as a police officer when the fatal wreck occurred. The North County Times reported Heinzel was one of seven former and current female police officers who accused former leaders of the Newport Beach Police Department of sexual harassment and discrimination in 1992. The women settled a lawsuit for $1.2 million in 1994, according to the report, and Heinzel was awarded $150,000 and allowed to take disability retirement from the Newport Beach Police Department.