Car Ram Man Gets 30 Years

Thursday, July 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A man was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison for ramming a car carrying his former girlfriend, causing a crash that killed a girl and injured the girlfriend and five other people.

Superior Court Judge John Fisher on Wednesday imposed the maximum sentence allowed, 32 years and eight months to life in prison, for Raul Contreras, 19. He was convicted last month of second-degree murder, hit-and-run driving and assault with a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors said Contreras chased a car containing five young people on local streets and two freeways last September, ramming it at least three times before the car went out of control and struck a van.

The former girlfriend, Rochelle Ramos, 18, suffered head injuries. Ashlee Hernandez, 12, was killed, her 16-year-old sister, Kathleen, was paralyzed from the waist down, and the two other people in the car and the two people in the van also were injured.

The defense had maintained the crash was an accident.

``He's told us he didn't mean to hurt them,'' Contreras' friend Gloria Santa Maria said outside court. ``He just wanted to talk to Rochelle.''

Hernandez was arrested four days after the crash when he was spotted by an officer at the hospital where Ramos was being treated.