Welcome

Welcome to the Julie Daniel Memorial Web Site. This web site is dedicated to Julie Ann Daniel who died September 7, 1990 as a result of a traffic accident involving a drunk driver. Her fiance Kevin died September 4, 1990 at the scene of the accident.

The purpose of this web site is to let people know about Julie’s short and vibrant life and to provide information regarding the academic scholarship in her name.

Visit to Julie’s Grave

by Scott Daniel

Julie and Kevin are buried together in a small cemetery in Garden Grove, CA. It’s nice to visit from time to time with family just to remember her. Our girls wanted to go over the holiday so Margie and I, the girls and Mom made an afternoon of it. It’s hard for the girls to remember Julie (they were very young when she died), but they know how important she was to all of us. Visiting her grave is a good time to tell stories to help the girls create a more colorful memory of her.

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Julies and Kevin’s grave site is at Magnolia Memorial in Garden Grove, CA. Below is information for getting there. The grave is in the south-east section of the cemetery.

Open Hours:
Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm
Saturday, 9:00am-2:00pm

The Alfalfa Pyramid

by Brad Closson

alfalfa julieI didn’t have any sisters growing up.  Two brothers on either side of me, but no sisters.  My cousin Julie was the closest thing to a sister that I had.  She was the youngest in her family, so it was great for her to be the “older” sibling when she was around my brother Jeff and I.  She was three years older than I was, which means she was actually about 10 years older in maturity most of the time.  She was smart and sassy.  She could be very sarcastic yet hilariously funny.  She and I spent a lot of time playing together, and fighting each other.  I don’t think I ever won, even once.  She was strong enough to whip me in wrestling and sly enough to make me cry with words.  (Scott had his hands full.)

Once she was in college and I was in High School, our relationship smoothed out.  We both became young adults, so we didn’t need to fight with each other anymore.  (Though an argument here and there was still in play.)  Julie was a beautiful smart woman.  I wish we would have had more time together as adults.  Goodness knows, I could have used more sisterly advice and mentoring.

My favorite memory was the alfalfa pyramid that my Dad made for all of us one year.  We had the best time climbing on it and jumping off into a few broken bales.  It is one of my favorite pictures and memories of my whole childhood with Scott and Julie.

Summer Magic

by Cal Closson

Julie was my first cousin and was always full of life. I feel like I was as close to her as a cousin can be, particularly as we both entered adulthood. But we had always been close – our mom’s are twins and as children, my two younger brothers and I couldn’t wait to see Scott and Julie because there were always adventures in the making. Summers were magical growing up in the 60s and 70s, but they were more so whenever Scott and Julie were in town. On more than one occasion, we were surprised early on a summer morning by the arrival of the Daniels from California. Coming from a family of boys, I envied Scott having a sister and as I got older, Julie was a close to being a sister as I would ever know. We were only a year apart and were experiencing many of the same things at the same times as we grew up. Our mothers are passionate and emotional women, and Julie’s Dad Ron is as well. If you knew Julie, you know she carried that passion inside her and showed it in everything she did – good and sometimes, not so good! Julie was often the only girl surrounded by boys – her brother and cousins, and never, ever found that a problem. She often would take us all on and her passion, and yes, her temper, usually could outweigh the rest of us put together. She was never too “girly” not to mix it up with us, including playing army, swimming at the pool, hide and seek, tag, building forts, wrestling matches – whatever the boys were doing, she was up for it. She didn’t do anything halfway and that drew each of us to her.

Julie was fun loving, affectionate, cute as a girl and beautiful as a woman. She had a mischievous nature at times, and a look and a smile that told you that she knew something you didn’t. I learned a lot about girls and women through my friendship with her through the years and because we became close as young adults. In my college years and before I was married, we had many long talks by phone – often about our relationships, heartaches and heartbreaks, loneliness, and the fear of the unknown on what we should do with our lives as adults. A relationship of any kind wasn’t easy or simple with Julie – she gave her all, and didn’t always get it in return. A common character trait that she and I share is our investment in others – friendships or love relationships – that weren’t always returned in kind… and dealing with the hurt and disappointment that sometimes would cause.

I miss Julie. I miss the woman she had become… and mostly the friendship and relationship we could have shared these past 33 years. In the last couple years of her life she seemed happier than ever and we had become even closer. In the midst of that… she lost her life – and the love of her life, Kevin, lost his life as well. I thank God that I was with the two of them two weeks before their accident, got to meet Kevin, and can remember Julie as happy and beautiful as I’d ever seen her. Julie’s brother Scott is truly my brother and we are a close as brothers can be. I know that if Julie were here, she and her family would be a big part of the lives of me and mine.

My Sister

by Scott Daniel

Julie was my sister and only sibling. It’s difficult to describe what its like to grow up with a sibling and then find yourself an only child. There are things that only a sibling understands. They were there with you when it happened and understand you in ways that no one else, including your wife, children and friends cannot. When Julie died, my connection to the rest of the world broke just a little bit.

And just as Julie understood me, I knew her in ways that other’s didn’t. This isn’t to say that she shared all her secrets with me. There are many things I learned about her life after her death. It is more a of a feeling about the world that comes from a shared experience early in our lives. It’s a look shared when we heard a bit of family news or a smile or a frown at just the right moment.

Julie was where with me in the back seat of our VW travelling across the US from Minnesota to start our lives in California. She was there when we opened presents on Christmas and ended up playing with the packing boxes instead of the presents. When I was 15 and she was 13, she was there when my mother measured us and she equaled me in height. She was there when my parents split up and a few years later when our parents remarried.

Julie struggled with the world in way that only a few of us understood. She raged and stomped at injustice in any form whether it was perpetrated against her or anyone else. As a young person, a good deal of her anger was misdirected and she suffered for it. Some of us, particularly our parents, suffered with her. Her life did not proceed in a straight line. But in the years before her death she found the love of her life, found a career, and found happiness. She seemed to find peace.

My cousin’s “adopted” me just after Julie’s death. They are son’s of my mother’s identical twin so we are more than just a little related. They have been my brothers now for almost as long as Julie was my sister. It isn’t a replacement for Julie, but we are creating a new set of shared memories, good and bad like all good siblings, that help connect me to the world.

Death and Trial

The accident that killed Julie occurred at 1:50a on Monday, September 3rd, 1990. Her car, driven by her fiance Kevin, was struck from behind by a drunk driver which caused their car to lose control and hit a tree in a ravine on the 22 Freeway in Garden Grove, CA. Neither Julie nor Kevin were wearing seat belts. The driver that caused the accident attempted to flee the scene but was stopped by Brian Simurda who witnessed the accident and intercepted the drunk driver on an off-ramp. Kevin died at the scene of the accident. Julie never regained consciousness and died four days later at UCI Medical Center in Irvine.

Below is the LA times article published the day after the accident, before Julie died.

LA Times Article

Alberto Ochoa, the driver that killed Julie and Kevin, was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter. He received the maximum sentence. The judge indicated that he received more letters on behalf of Julie and Kevin than he had received for any case before. A representative from MADD was present at all of the trial hearings and was instrumental in supporing the families through the trial process.

A number of the members of the Ochoa family offered apologies to our families for Julie and Kevin’s deaths.

The case of People vs Alberto Ochoa was appealed successfully and then overturned (the trial case was upheld) by the California Supreme Court. At issue was the admission of the evidence of Ochoa’s previous conviction for drunk driving which was used by the court to demonstrate prior knowledge of the consequences of drunk driving to show gross negligence.

You can read details about the case, including details about the accident, from the records of the California Supreme Court from the links below.

People vs Ochoa on Stanford Law 

People vs Ochoa on Justia.com