Widow relieved after DMV suspends license of deputy involved in fatal crash

Fatal Car Crash

Johnny Corona/AP

In this photo taken Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, an SUV remains in the store after crashing through the wall of a Starbucks in Fillmore, Calif., killing a 30-year-old-man. Ventura County sheriff's Deputy Jerry Peterson says the SUV, driven by Michael Cedarland, broke through a wall of the coffee shop at about 7 p.m. Tuesday, pinning customer Sergio Mendez against a door frame. Mendez died later at a hospital.

DMV

DMV driver record for Michael Cedarland


The widow of the Iraq War vet who was killed when an off-duty L.A. County Sheriff's deputy crashed his SUV into a Ventura County Starbucks says she’s relieved to learn the DMV has suspended his license.

It’s been four months since 29-year-old Cinthya Mendez lost her husband Sergio in a bizarre accident at a Fillmore Starbucks.

The 30-year-old California National Guardsman and former Marine was sitting inside the café at about 7 P.M. last December 13th, when an off-duty L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy blacked out behind the wheel of his SUV.

Michael Cedarland — who had just regained his license from the DMV after a four-month suspension for a seizure at work — apparently suffered another one behind the wheel that night. When Cedarland lost consciousness, his car veered off the road and smashed through the coffee shop, pinning Mendez against the front door. He died several hours later from internal injuries.

Cinthya Mendez told KPCC she is relieved to learn that, after four months, the DMV decided to take action against Cedarland.

"I’m just really, really happy that they took his license away," she said. "It just gives me peace of mind that it’s not going to happen again."

Sergio and Cinthiya Mendez had been married for seven years. The couple had no children.

The DMV acted in response to a KPCC investigation into why the deputy was allowed to drive for months after the deadly crash, and after a prior suspension for medical reasons. According to the DMV, the agency did not receive notice of the accident from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department that would have allowed the agency to take action sooner.

The 31-year-old Cederland is a 7-year L.A. County Sheriff's Department veteran. He is not required to drive as part of his job.

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