Visalia man sentenced to life for fatal DUI crash

County of Tulare courthouse and county offices edifice - Photo by Rigo Moran

David Edma receives life sentence after DUI murder conviction earlier this year; conviction comes after the fatal crash in 2018 that caused the death of a woman and her unborn child

VISALIA – After six long years, David Edma, 30, has been sentenced for his role in the fatal DUI crash that took place near Cutler in 2018.

In the Tulare County Superior Court on July 3, the court sentenced the Visalia man to life in prison for DUI murder. According to current California sentencing laws, Edma must serve at least 30 years in custody, not including CDCR credits, prior to receiving parole consideration. Supervising Deputy District Attorney Noell Niayesh and Senior District Attorney Nadya Hannah prosecuted the case.

On June 15, 2018, around 9:30 pm, California Highway Patrol officers were dispatched to a collision on State Route 63 south of Avenue 392 near Cutler. When they arrived, they found two vehicles involved in a head-on crash. Edma was unconscious and pinned in his vehicle.

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David Edma of Visalia. (Tulare County District Attorney's Office)

The occupants of the second vehicle were a family including an adult male driver, his wife who was 20-weeks pregnant and three minor children. The expectant mother was rushed to medical facilities in Fresno where the baby was delivered, but both mother and child died. The remaining victims were treated at other medical facilities after suffering broken clavicles, pulmonary contusions, broken hips and a perforated bowel.

When Edma was removed from his vehicle, a beer can fell from between his legs. Tests on his blood revealed a .24% blood alcohol content. Edma already possessed a misdemeanor DUI conviction from 2017 with a high blood alcohol content and was on probation for that DUI at the time of this offense.

At trial on March 12 earlier this year, Edma was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder with the special allegations that he caused great bodily injury, used a deadly weapon (car), that he was on probation when the crime was committed and that he engaged in violent conduct indicating he is a serious danger to society. In addition, he was convicted of felony DUI with great bodily injury for the male driver and the three children in the car, misdemeanor driving while license suspended and unlawful vehicle operation.

As part of his sentence for the 2017 DUI, Edma enrolled in drunk driving classes and signed a Watson Admonishment dictating the future possible consequences of DUI that would include murder charges if the defendant drove drunk and killed someone.

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