A walk home after school turned into tragedy when an impaired driver took the lives of a 19-year-old and 10-year-old brother and sister.
Lisa Core was arrested on second-degree murder charges when she jumped the curb while allegedly under the influence and ran over the siblings on the sidewalk. She had been arrested several times before for driving impaired, according to media reports.
JJ Malone, 19, and 10-year-old sister Caylee Brown died in the crash. JJ had just met Caylee at the school bus drop-off when Core’s sedan veered across the eastbound lanes of Panama Lane, jumped the curb, and mowed them down on the sidewalk.
Chain | Cohn | Stiles representatives joined the Bakersfield and Kern County communities in mourning the deaths, and in admonishing the DUI driver and ongoing the DUI problem locally. Attorney Matt Clark appeared on several local news media outlets to discuss the criminal and potential civil case, sentencing guidelines for DUI crimes in California, and impaired driving epidemic in Kern County. Clark is a board member for the local chapter of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and is a recipient of the “Pursuit of Justice” award by MADD California.
Law firm marketing director Jorge Barrientos joined Spanish language news media as well — Barrientos is also a board member for the MADD Kern County Advisory Board and is the planning committee chairman for the annual “Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash,” the local chapter’s annual fundraiser of which Chain | Cohn | Stiles is presenting sponsor. Barrientos is also the 2015 “Volunteer of the Year” for MADD California.
Clark shared with local media the following statistics and information about impaired driving crimes locally:
- “There is only one other county in the United States where you are statistically more likely to be killed by a drunk or impaired driver than you are in Kern County,” Clark told 23ABC News. “That is embarrassing. That is a disgusting statistic.”
- “When it comes to a death in a drunk driving case or in this instance, a drugged driving case, you can actually charge someone with murder,” Clark told 23ABC News. “We’re one of the rare states where you can do that. That law actually originated out of Kern County.”
- The penalties can vary for DUI. At a minimum, DUI offender who causes a death and is charged with negligent-vehicular-manslaughter while intoxicated, can face up to a year in jail and a maximum of $1,000 dollars in fines. A conviction of second-degree murder can result in 15 years to life in prison.
- Clark told local media even with a misdemeanor, “slap on the wrist” may not solve the issue. “In our community, what you typically see happen in a DUI of a misdemeanor case the person receives a minimal sentence, and on that first DUI, it means they are certainly not going to do any jail time, they’re going to pay a fine, they’re going to be placed on probation, their license is likely suspended. The second and third DUI are more severe. But none of it is apparently severe enough to change people’s behavior.”
- Kern County averages 4,000 arrests per year, an astounding number based on our population. Kern County has the second-highest odds in the country for someone to be killed by a drunk driver while on the road.
- “In the DUI cases that I have been involved in, it is rare that an injury or a death DUI crash occurs that it’s the persons first attempt. It’s almost always the second, third, the fourth, or the fifth,” Clark said.
You can view all the media reports at the links at the bottom of this page.
According to KGET-17 News, Malone’s and Brown’s deaths were Kern County’s 52nd and 53rd pedestrian fatalities in 2021.
- BPD: Police arrest 4-time DUI offender in connection to traffic collision that killed child, man (The Bakersfield Californian – Dec. 8, 2021)
- Man, 19, walking his sister, 10, home from school struck and killed on Panama Lane (KGET-17, NBC – Dec. 8, 2021)
- Panama Lane fatal crash suspect has a history of DUI’s (Eyewitness News – Dec. 9, 2021) (web version)
- Greenfield Union School District releases statement after death of fifth-grader (Eyewitness News – Dec. 9, 2021)
- Greenfield School District loses ‘shining star’ in Panama Lane crash (KGET-17, NBC – Dec. 9, 2021)
- ‘I’m sorry’: Lisa Core, DUI suspect in deadly Panama Lane crash, tells her side of the story (KGET-17, NBC – Dec. 9, 2021)
- Mothers Against Drunk Drivers speaks on advocacy, following deadly crash (Eyewitness News – Dec. 10, 2021) (web version)
- Driver in deadly crash had two previous DUIs (23ABC News – Dec. 9, 2021) (web version)
- MADD Kern County apoya a las familias después de choques causados por conductores ebrio (Telemundo-17.3)
- Driver in crash that killed siblings had slurred speech, was nodding off: warrant (KGET-17, NBC – Dec. 30, 2021)
- ‘I just went out of it while I was driving:’ Lis Core admitted taking multiple prescription meds, reports say (KGET-17, NBC – Dec. 30, 2021)
- Vigil held for siblings killed in suspected DUI crash (KGET-17, NBC – Dec. 29, 2021)