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News in Brief: A summary of developments across Los
Angeles County | Community News File / Malibu

Driver Pleads Not Guilty in Crash That Killed 2

April 03, 1998

A man with a prior drunk driving conviction pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of second-degree murder for a December crash that killed two Pepperdine University students on Pacific Coast Highway.

The district attorney's office said Kelly Dean Eastman, 37, also pleaded guilty to one count of driving under the influence of alcohol, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Eastman faces 18 years to life in prison when he is sentenced April 30.

Kimberly Ellis and Jeannine Gregory, both 22, were killed and Samantha Dolinger, 22, and Mark Gallagher, 23, were injured when Eastman's white van collided head-on with their vehicle.

The four first-year law students were on their way to a restaurant during a study break when the accident occurred.

A blood test at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center later placed Eastman's alcohol level at 0.22%, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08%.

Eastman was convicted of drunk driving in Utah six years ago, which made prosecutors push for murder charges instead of vehicular manslaughter, Gibbons said.

NEWS IN BRIEF: A summary of developments across Los Angeles County For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday April 4, 1998 Home Edition Metro Part B Page 2 Metro Desk 1 inches; 31 words Type of Material: Correction
Driver's plea--In Friday's Times, the headline on a News in Brief item misstated the plea of a man involved in a fatal car crash. As the article stated, Kelly Dean Eastman pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder.

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