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Orange County DUI Fatal Crash: An Unnecessary Tragedy

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Update: Brian Burchfield has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

A 21-year-old Yorba Linda woman died in a head-on crash in Orange County, which officials say was possibly caused by two people driving under the influence. According to a news article in The Orange County Register Ashley Knight was a passenger in one of the cars, a 2002 Honda Civic being driven by 23-year-old Samira Bahu.

Investigators, who sifted through evidence at the crash site for nine hours, say Brian Burchfield, 22, of Irvine, was driving his Toyota Tacoma and going the wrong way on the 22 Freeway. Bahu was trying to merge on to the 22 from the 55 Freeway when Burchfield crashed head-on into the Civic, the Register article stated.

Both Bahu and Burchfield reportedly suffered critical injuries. And both were also placed under arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence. Knight, who was riding with Bahu, died at the scene.

This is a sad story yet again about young adults driving while intoxicated. In this case, it cost one woman her life. It cost Ashley Knight’s family and friends her love, companionship and presence in their lives. It will cost the other two, if it is determined that they were in fact intoxicated, a felony conviction, jail time and the financial accountability to Knight’s family that follows.

Based on what’s been reported in this article, the California Highway Patrol seems to have done a thorough job of investigating the accident to determine fault and liability. Hopefully, the 22-year-old Burchfield was not intoxicated and he was not a contributing factor in this accident. But, if it is determined that he was over the legal limit for driving, even if he wasn’t otherwise responsible for the accident, he may be facing felony vehicular manslaughter charges and significant jail time.

Let this tragic auto accident send a message to all drivers: “Do not drink and drive.” Don’t do it even if you think you’re fine, in control and can make it home safe. It’s just not worth it.

U.S. Center for Disease Control
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Stop Impaired Driving

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  • Adli

    Burchfield wasn’t driving the civic. He was driving a 2007 toyota tundra and he was going the wrong way on the connector ramp, he hit the civic head on, and he killed that girl. dont get your facts miscontstrued.

  • Jenn

    Ashley was riding with Samira, not Brian. I grew up with her and she will be missed.

  • Katrina

    Burchfield was three times over the legal limit!

  • Katrina

    And what do you mean hopefully he was not a contributing factor! Are you serious?? He was driving the wrong way on the freeway!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Brian hurt so many people with his horrible mistake which started by unlocking his car. He took away my friends life and almost killed my sister. He has hurt so many people that love Ashley and Sammy.He also hurt his own family and friends and himself. No one was left untouched from sadness, anger, confusion, pain, and loss . Happy Thanksgiving, be thankful for those around you and that love you and let them know every day!

  • Ev

    i still can’t believe it. why do good people have to die young? i can’t even imagine what her parents and brothers are going through. These morons need to be locked up for life! No questions asked!

  • Chuck

    Sam, I feel for you.. I can only image the sorrow and pain you feel. You have my sympathy..

  • Anonymous

    I went to high school with brian and he was always known for partying he has an awesome personality and it hurts to say that he deserves to be punished and he’ll always feel the pain for killing that girl. All we can do it forgive and pray for ashley as well as brian. I’m sorry for ashleys loss.

  • cheri

    How come the article says it was re-written. it still says that IF Brian was intoxicated.PEOPLE- He was 3 times the legal limit. He went the wrong way on the freeway. He will try to say it was not well lit in the area or some bogus excuse. His friends tried to take his keys away. he snuck out of the bar and got into his car anyway and killed my niece. Lets get the facts straight.

  • Anonymous

    I also went to high school with Brian…and i was not shoked to hear what he did. He really needs to go to jail for this crime, because I’m almost 100% sure he was under the influence. His life in HS revolved around alcohol and weed – so what a surprise? I feel so sad for Ashley’s family because she should be alive today. Life is so unfair – if only Brian thought “cool” was being a sober driver, then this tragedy would have never happened. I feel ashamed to even know Brian…

  • Anonymous

    Please have the facts straight before passing judgment. No one knows what was happening in Brian’s life that might have led to this behavior. I completely agree that it was inexcusable, poor judgment, and he deserves the sentence he receives. However, I also know the entire back story to why he was drinking in the first place. I am not a friend of his, but I know his family and their story. This is an awful accident that should have been avoided by not drinking & driving. There are, however, two sides to the coin. Everyone involved in the accident is in my prayers.. including Brian. To those that lashed out against him, let the court use their judgment to decide. Your judgment is heavily emotionally influenced (and full of grammatical errors).

  • Anonymous

    Brian made a mistake. He’s a very good friend of mine and he knows he deserves what is going to happen to him. Even though he’s made some bad decisions in his life, he is one of the nicest people I have ever met and I will continue to support him and help him out. All the people that judge him need to stop and think how he feels. This is something he will have to deal with the rest of his life. Brian deserves some compassion too. He has feelings and none of you have made it easier. Pray for him and forgive him for getting in the car that night. Its the least you can do.

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