A 20-year-old California woman has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and felony drunk driving in connection with an Oct. 13 traffic accident that left her 20-year-old passenger dead and injured three others. Reports indicate that the woman was taken into custody following the accident and transported to the Ventura County Jail. Her bail has been set at $250,000.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the woman was driving with a blood alcohol level that was well in excess of the legal limit when her Lexus sedan strayed into the path of oncoming traffic on Highway 126 near Fillmore. Officers say that the woman's car then struck a sedan and pickup truck that had been traveling eastbound in the vicinity of Spalding Drive. First responders pronounced the woman in the passenger seat of the Lexus dead at the scene. A 38-year-old woman who was behind the wheel of the sedan struck by the woman's car suffered what were described as serious injuries, and she was transported by paramedics to a local hospital along with the woman and three others. The injured included a 2-year-old boy according to police.
In addition to the manslaughter and drunk driving charges, the woman is facing a number of special allegations including causing death or great bodily injury and causing serious injuries while committing a felony. She is scheduled to appear in court again on Oct. 26.
Drunk driving cases are generally settled quickly based on toxicology evidence, but proceedings may be far more involved when lives have been lost and the charges are serious. When their clients are young, have not been in trouble with the law before and show genuine remorse, experienced criminal defense attorneys may urge prosecutors to take these factors into consideration during plea negotiations.