Not guilty plea from woman accused in DUI crash that killed her - San Diego, California Talk Radio Station - 760 KFMB AM - 760kfmb

Not guilty plea from woman accused in DUI crash that killed her daughter and another child

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    Wednesday, August 8 2012 10:09 AM EDT2012-08-08 14:09:33 GMT
    A woman accused of crashing her minivan into Otay Lakes Reservoir while intoxicated, resulting in the deaths of her 5-year-old daughter and another 5-year-old girl, is scheduled to be arraigned in Chula Vista Wednesday.More >>
    A woman accused of crashing her minivan into Otay Lakes Reservoir while intoxicated, resulting in the deaths of her 5-year-old daughter and another 5-year-old girl, is scheduled to be arraigned in Chula Vista Wednesday.More >>

CHULA VISTA (CNS) - A woman accused of crashing her minivan into Otay Lakes Reservoir while intoxicated, resulting in the deaths of her 5-year-old daughter and another 5-year-old girl, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to gross vehicular manslaughter and other charges.

Arlene Anna Hernandez, 22, of Chula Vista, was ordered held on $400,000 bail. She faces 13 years in state prison if convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and two counts each of felony child abuse and DUI causing injury, according to Deputy District Attorney Mary Loeb.

"The child abuse charges (are) for the defendant's conduct by putting her child, and this other child, in a situation where they were in danger of great bodily injury, and of course that's what happened here," Loeb said outside court.

The defendant's blood was drawn at the crime scene, but authorities are waiting for test results to determine her blood-alcohol level at the time of the accident, the prosecutor said.

Hernandez lost control of her 2005 Kia Sedona on eastbound Otay Lakes Road shortly after 6 p.m. Sunday. The vehicle tumbled down an embankment near Wueste Road, overturned, landed on its roof in the water and sank, California Highway Patrol Officer Omar Morales said.

Hernandez and a man in the front passenger seat extricated themselves, but Giuliana Figueroa of La Mesa and the defendant's daughter, Lesette Hernandez Silva, remained inside in the back seat until Border Patrol agents and several area residents pulled them out.

The children were airlifted to Rady Children's Hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

According to the CHP, Giuliana Figueroa was the daughter of the front-seat male passenger.

The exact relationship between the defendant and her male passenger was not known, Loeb said.

South Bay Judge Katherine Bacal scheduled Aug. 16 readiness conference and Aug. 21 preliminary hearing dates. Friends and family of the defendant packed the courtroom for her arraignment. The mother of the other girl killed was also in attendance.

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