La Habra driver gets 15 years to life for killing motorist in drunken, wrong-way U-Haul truck crash

by in News

A driver who killed a La Habra man while driving drunk in a rented U-Haul truck on the wrong side of the roadway was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in prison.

A jury last year convicted Dustin David Lish, 26, of second-degree murder for the November 2011 head-on crash that killed 20-year-old Joseph Quezada.

According to prosecutors, Lish was drinking with friends at his La Habra home before his sister drove he and a friend to a U-Haul facility on Lambert Road, where Lish worked. They were planning to rent a truck in order to hang out in it, prosecutors said.

The U-Haul manager rented the truck to the two men, but wouldn’t let Lish drive, believing he was visibly intoxicated. The friend drove the truck away with Lish in the passenger seat, but prosecutors said they soon switched places and Lish got behind the wheel.

Lish began driving erratically at high speeds, prosecutors said, veering into oncoming traffic and sideswiping an SUV whose driver had swerved to avoid a collision. Lish was still driving on the wrong side of the road when he crashed head-on with a Hyundai Accent driven by Quezada.

The force of the crash pushed Quezada backward into the car behind him, according to the DA’s office. Quezada was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Lish and his friend ran away from the scene of the accident, but were found hiding in a vehicle storage area about 200 feet away. Three hours after the crash, his blood-alcohol level was found to be 0.16 percent, double the legal limit to drive.

Investigators later learned from black box data taken from the U-Haul that Lish had been “flooring the gas pedal of the truck repeatedly and intentionally” leading up to the crash, according to the DA’s Office.