El Monte drunk driver scheduled for arraignment following lethal collision

An Orange County man accused of driving drunk and speeding, causing a crash that killed a woman on the San Bernardino (10) Freeway in El Monte over the weekend, was scheduled to be arraigned today.

Thomas Earl Vanauken, 43, of Anaheim, is charged with one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury and driving with a .08 percent blood-alcohol content causing injury, said Barbara Bolante-Martinez, deputy in charge of the District Attorney's El Monte area office.

The criminal complaint includes allegations that Vanauken was driving at an "excessive speed" and that the crash caused great bodily injury to one of the passengers in the car that was struck on the eastbound side of the freeway, just east of Santa Anita Avenue.

Authorities say Vanauken was behind the wheel of a 2009 Acura MDX that rear-ended Edelmira Guardado's 1995 Mitsubishi around 2:45 a.m. Sunday after the 42-year-old Ontario woman slowed for traffic due to construction work. Investigators say he may have been traveling more than 120 mph.

Guardado died of extensive head trauma. One of her passengers suffered lacerations, and the other escaped injury. Vanauken kept driving after the crash and got into the carpool lane, where the Acura hit the center divider and overturned, according to the California Highway Patrol. He was arrested after being treated at Kaiser Permanente hospital in Baldwin Park.

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