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San Clemente Man Charged in July 4th Death of Laguna Niguel Woman Walking Her Dog

If convicted, Gallo faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in state prison for the felony charges and one year and six months in jail for the misdemeanor charges.

A woman places flowers at the site where LuZanna Malec was fatally struck by a car July 4, 2013 in Laguna Niguel. Patch photo credit: Barton Mac Leod.
A woman places flowers at the site where LuZanna Malec was fatally struck by a car July 4, 2013 in Laguna Niguel. Patch photo credit: Barton Mac Leod.

Originally posted at 5:15 p.m. April 8, 2014. 

A San Clemente man has been charged with vehicular manslaughter in the 4th of July death of a Laguna Niguel woman who was out walking her dog when she was struck by a car.

Christopher James Gallo, 44, San Clemente is expected to be arraigned Wednesday.

The accident took place on Golden Lantern near Beacon Hill Way around 9:10 a.m. July 4, according to the coroner's office. Laguna Niguel resident LuZanna Malec was walking on the sidewalk when a car hopped the curb and hit her, and she died at the scene, according to the coroner's office. Her husband was also struck and injured in the accident.

Orange County Sheriff's deputies suspected the driver may have been DUI.

Gallo first came to the attention of law enforcement officials three months before the deadly accident in Laguna Niguel. In April 2013, a California Highway Patrol officer pulled Gallo over along the I-5 at Camino de Estrella in San Clemente, according to Orange County District Attorney’s office.

At that incident, “Gallo is accused of displaying objective symptoms of alcohol intoxication. The defendant is accused of having a blood alcohol content of .08 percent and possessing more than 300 grams of marijuana with evidence indicating he was planning to sell it,” says a D.A. press release.

Altogether, according to the D.A.’s office, Gallo is charged with one felony count each of:

  • Vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated
  • Driving under the influence causing bodily injury
  • Possession of marijuana for sale, sale or transportation of marijuana
  • And one misdemeanor count each of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more
  • Two misdemeanor counts of driving on a suspended or revoked license

He faces sentencing enhancement allegations for inflicting great bodily injury and great bodily injury to multiple victims, officials said.

If convicted, Gallo faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in state prison for the felony charges and one year and six months in jail for the misdemeanor charges.

He is currently being held on $150,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Malec worked for Wells Fargo Advisors in Newport Beach. She was also a published author, having penned books on retirement investing, and a mother of three, according to the Orange County Register.

GreenInOC April 10, 2014 at 07:39 PM
I'm with @bbq, there is no "other" photo. There is a photo of a woman squatting down at the accident site and the booking photo of Gallo. So Mr. Gallo was arrested for three of the EXACT same things in April as he was just now - suspicion of DUI, BAC of .08 and intent to distribute marijuana? From the above story, "At that incident, “Gallo is accused of displaying objective symptoms of alcohol intoxication. The defendant is accused of having a blood alcohol content of .08 percent and possessing more than 300 grams of marijuana with evidence indicating he was planning to sell it,” says a D.A. press release."
GreenInOC April 10, 2014 at 07:44 PM
Here's a link to the DA's press release: http://www.orangecountyda.com/home/index.asp?page=8&recordid=3945
Penny Arévalo April 10, 2014 at 07:48 PM
Are you reading on your phone? The photo is there! Don't know what else to tell ya.
GreenInOC April 10, 2014 at 09:52 PM
@Penny Arévalo, I'm on my laptop. I've checked on Safari, Chrome and Firefox and there isn't anything other than the 2 photos I described above.
Penny Arévalo April 10, 2014 at 09:57 PM
Again, sorry. It's there. I can see it. I've uploaded it. Other people have commented on it (see Tanya's comments above). I'm sure we'll be using it again as this case moves forward.

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