- Associated Press - Thursday, June 12, 2014

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) - The U.S. Justice Department is looking into the aftermath of a deadly car accident last year that sent a former California congressional aide to prison, the office of Rep. Lois Capps said Thursday.

A statement from the Democrat’s office welcomed the inquiry.

Army veteran Raymond Morua was employed as a field director for Capps in December when he hit Mallory Dies, 27, as she crossed a street in downtown Santa Barbara. He pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and other charges and was sentenced in May to 20 years to life in state prison.

The statement from Capps’ office said the agency is looking into “events that occurred following the tragic accident.”

The probe was first reported by the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Capps is facing a tough re-election fight in her district that includes Santa Barbara and a swath of the Central Coast. Votes from the June 3 primary are still being counted to determine the candidate who will challenge her in November.

In April the victim’s parents, Matt and Raeona Dies, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Morua, Capps and the U.S. government. It claims the congresswoman hired the aide despite being aware he had prior drunken driving convictions, then failed to monitor him.

The Justice Department did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

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