Parents Matt and Raeona Dies cannot bring their young daughter back to life, but have pushed to hold accountable those responsible in the DUI crash that killed her. A quiet early November settlement granted the couple $2.5 million from the United States Government, a co-defendant in the lawsuit seeking damages and asserting the Congressional aide behind the wheel that night became intoxicated on government time. Reports have indicated a possible cover-up from Congresswoman Capps’ office.
On the evening of December 5, 2013, aide to U.S. Representative Lois Capps (D-CA) Raymond Morua, asserts he was following instructions from the Capps’ scheduler to attend a private holiday party on behalf of the Congresswoman. DailyMail reports Morua had attended the same party in the Congresswoman’s stead the prior year.
In a sworn statement, Morua wrote, “’On or about November 27th, 2013, I was in Representative Capps’ office and was told by Vianey Lopez that I was to attend a Christmas party on Dec. 5, 2013, at The Savoy, a club on State Street in Santa Barbara,” records DailyMail.
During that party receipts show Morua purchase eight cocktails. Driving home from the party, Morua reportedly crashed in to Mallory, saw her body laying in the street and fled. Reports say he tried to speed away before crashing his vehicle again, then attempting to hide in a nearby freight yard. Morua registered a .17 in a blood alcohol test once he was tracked down, more than twice California’s legal limit.
Mallory was on life support for five days at Cottage ICU before her family released her from that support and she passed away.
Journalist Peter Lance reported evidence of a cover-up from Congresswoman Capps office from the very beginning, as published by the Santa Barbara News-Press. According to Lance, “Capps’ District Director Mollie Culver forged official VA forms to get Mr. Morua out of jail and into a government-funded LA treatment facility, only to disown him after Mallory was taken off life support.” DailyMail posted document images.
Lance went on to report, “There was additional evidence that Mary Beth Walker, a lawyer for the U.S. House of Representatives’ Office of General Counsel may have attempted to obstruct justice by asking Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley, a close political ally of Mrs. Capps, to “segregate” what Ms. Walker termed “sensitive official information” from Mr. Morua’s office iPhone 4 seized by police after his arrest.”
Representative Capps has denied the claims that Morua was directed to attend the event. After the Dies family filed the lawsuit against Capps, Morua and the U.S. government, the federal government assumed Capps’ liability and she was reportedly removed from the amended court filing.
Capps’ office claimed no knowledge of Morua’s prior multiple arrests for DUI, a hit-and-run and conviction for embezzlement when the Iraq war veteran was hired, DailyMail conveyed.
Capps and her late husband were hit by a drunk driver in 1996 preceding her husband’s election to Congress. The Congresswoman ran for election to replace her husband in Congress after his passing. Since then she has shown a soft stance on drunk driving as documented in the Daily Caller. Capps voted against a 2002 bill that would have made driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at land border ports of entry illegal and allowed Immigration and Naturalization Service to test suspected drunk drivers. Then in 2012 Capps reportedly helped an convicted illegal alien drunk driver stay in the United States.
Morua pled guilty to criminal charges including DUI, manslaughter and fleeing the scene of a fatal collision. He has been sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for those crimes.
While the federal government agreed to pay the Dies $2.5 million in the settlement, no wrongdoing was admitted.
According to KEYT, the Dies family will donate a large portion of the settlement money to the family’s Vow 4 Mal Foundation, a nonprofit with the goal of reducing, “the damage done to the community by the preventable plague of drinking and driving.”
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This post has been corrected to note that Capps is a Democrat.