Osmara Meza, OC Homicide No. 20: Jessicah Louise Cowan Faces Murder Rap for 5 y.o.'s Death by DUI Hit-and-Run

Gresia (left) and the late Osmara Meza
With the filing of a murder count today against the accused drunken driver blamed for the hit-and-run death of Osmara Meza, the Santa Ana 5-year-old becomes Orange County's fifth homicide victim of 2012.

The girl was holding hands with her 6-year-old sister Gresia Meza and their mother Eloisa Madrigal as they legally walked through a crosswalk on a green light at 17th and Spurgeon streets in Santa Ana Saturday morning when a car ran through a red light, knocking the three into the intersection.

Osmara was later pronounced dead at the scene. Gresia and Madrigal were rushed to a Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, where they were treated for traumatic brain injuries. The 45-year-old mother remains there in "extremely critical" condition, while Gresia is reported to be recovering and is expected to survive.

Before the three were hit on their way from their apartment to a restaurant for breakfast, the same silver 2002 Lexus IS had been seen being driven erratically on 17th Street, at one point going out of control, hitting a center median and running another red before reaching 17th and Spurgeon. After striking the females at about 60 mph, knocking or dragging them 70 feet in the process, the driver darted off. But a motorist who witnessed what happened followed her for a few blocks and cornered her vehicle at 17th and Main Street until police arrived.

Courtesy of Santa Ana Police Dept.
Jessica Louise Cowan
The driver of the death ride, later identified as Jessicah Louise Cowan, 33, of Lake Hughes, was later arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, felony driving under the influence and manslaughter. Santa Ana Police allege she failed a field sobriety test, was under the influence of alcohol and had marijuana on her.

Cowan was originally held in lieu of $250,000 bail, but the Orange County District Attorney's office says in a statement that the judge will be asked at her arraignment in Santa Ana today that her bail be set at $1 million, which is standard for a murder count.

"Murder may be charged in cases of implied malice, where the defendant intentionally commits an act that is dangerous to human life, knowing it is dangerous to human life, and acts with conscious disregard for human life," reads the prosecution statement. 

The accused is now charged with one felony count each of murder, driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, driving with a blood alcohol level over .08 percent causing bodily injury, hit and run causing injury, an infraction for possession of marijuana while driving, and sentencing enhancements and allegations for having a blood alcohol level over .20 percent and causing bodily injury.

A conviction count send Cowan to state prison for 15 years to life.

Meanwhile, the Santa Ana Police Foundation has set up a donation fund for Meza's family, which is dealing not only with medical bills but burial expenses. Give online at sapdf.org/tragedy or send a check payable to Santa Ana Police Foundation, 2321 E. 4th St., Suite C-175, Santa Ana, CA 92705.

Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

First of all let me say this, it's unfortunate she wasn't beat to a pulp on the spot.  Now, if she had no priors i don't think the murder charge will stick. As we have seen so many times it turns into vehicular homicide with gross negligence. 15 to life will most likely be life.  Medical marijuana doesn't kill? 


I am sure this was not the first time this woman has been in this shape and drove. There must be family or friends who knew she was doing this. This could have been avoided. IF she had been at a bar, the bartender should have called the police. IF she had friends, family or anyone who knew she was doing this - drinking and driving, this could have been avoided! My God, that 5 yr old was just an innocent child. The six year old, I hope makes it OK and lord have mercy, the mother, IF she makes it will probably never be the same. This Cowen woman doesn't know what she's in for when she goes to prison. I have heard that people who injure and kill children and go to prison usually get the snot beat out of them. WHY DO PEOPLE DRINK AND DRIVE?

The Kman
The Kman

Smell like a pile of hot man....


Holy crap, I'm an imbecile!!!!  ;  )


When insulting someone by calling their intelligence into question, always make sure the demeaning keyword is spelled correctly. Otherwise the pointing finger creates three pointin' back atcha. Referring to 'imbicile' which be in fact 'imbecile'.


Friends and family knew her conditionn. the police were repeatedly called and they did nothing... Her loved ones tried to get her help.. but how do you help someone who doesn't want the help...it is truly a tragedy for both families.... I want to make it clear... the police were called on several occasions.. given her licence plate and told she was drinking and driving and they did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!!!!!

Now Trending

Anaheim Concert Tickets

From the Vault