Crime - Sacto 911

Wrong-way driver who fatally struck motorist sentenced to prison

A Sacramento man has been sentenced to 15 years to life in prison in the death of a driver whose car he struck when he was driving the wrong way on the freeway while under the influence of drugs.

Jefferson Cortez, 27, had pleaded no contest to second-degree murder, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing injury, and possession of methamphetamines in a crash last year that killed Sanching Saetern.

The California Highway Patrol said Cortez was speeding southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Del Paso Boulevard in the early morning hours of June 20, 2013, when his car struck two other vehicles.

Saetern, 23, died at the scene. Several members of a family in a sport-utility vehicle suffered minor injuries.

Cortez was taken to a hospital, where tests showed he was under the influence of marijuana and methamphetamine. Officers who searched his car found a glass pipe and a baggie with a white substance later determined to be methamphetamine.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet sentenced Cortez on Friday.