NEWPORT BEACH, CA — An Orange County Superior Court docket choose Tuesday denied bail for a 22-year-old girl accused of driving drunk and inflicting a deadly Newport Seashore crash. Santa Ana mother and father had been killed immediately within the crash that left their three younger daughters hospitalized.
Grace Elizabeth Coleman, who was additionally arrested on suspicion of driving below the affect through the summer season, is going through two homicide counts stemming from the Dec. 8 crash, together with one felony depend every of driving inebriated inflicting damage, DUI with a blood-alcohol stage exceeding the authorized restrict of .08% inflicting damage, and failing to cease at a hit-and-run accident with damage or loss of life.
Coleman can also be charged with driving inebriated and driving with a blood-alcohol content material exceeding .08% or extra, each misdemeanors. She faces sentencing enhancement allegations of inflicting nice bodily damage on the three kids.
Coleman’s attorneys, John Barnett and Paul Meyer sought to have their consumer launched from custody and positioned in a rehab facility. Orange County Superior Court docket Choose Andre Manssourian denied the request, saying it was not a “lockdown facility,” which, he added, “was inadequate below the circumstances.”
Coleman’s attorneys’ provide to have the Newport Seashore resident positioned on GPS monitoring was additionally rebuffed by Manssourian.
Senior Deputy District Legal professional Jennifer Walker alleged that on the evening of the lethal collision in Newport Seashore, Coleman bought a experience dwelling earlier than the crash however then bought again behind the wheel of her automobile.
The misdemeanor DUI expenses relate to Coleman’s arrest in Laguna Seashore on Aug. 29. That case was not submitted to prosecutors till Dec. 16, mentioned Kimberly Edds, a public info officer with the Orange County District Legal professional’s Workplace.
Beneath state regulation, a driver with a previous DUI conviction who’s subsequently concerned in a lethal DUI crash could be charged with second-degree homicide, which carries a life sentence. The identical authorized precept is utilized in some instances for a previous arrest when a suspect has been given what is called a Watson waiver admonishment.
Walker informed Manssourian that Coleman was concerned in a hit-and-run with property injury final 12 months in Laguna Seashore.
Laguna Seashore police Sgt. Jim Cota says the sufferer reported the collision the next day and submitted video footage. The 2 sides later settled the matter between themselves, and no arrest or referral for expenses was made to prosecutors.
Coleman, whose arraignment was rescheduled for Jan. 27 on the Central Justice Middle in Santa Ana, faces 42 years and eight months to life in jail if convicted as charged.
Prosecutors are alleging Coleman’s blood-alcohol stage was 0.22% —almost thrice the authorized restrict —on the time of the collision that killed Henry Eduardo Saldana-Mejia, 27, of Santa Ana, and his spouse, Gabriela M. Andrade, who would have turned 29 later this month.
In keeping with a GoFundMe page created by Andrade’s sister, the household had been admiring vacation lights within the space that evening, and the victims’ daughters, Emma Sofia, Elena, and Samantha Saldana Andrade, are 1, 3, and 5 years outdated. They had been wearing “their Christmas pajamas” on the time of the crash.
The kids had been hospitalized however have since been launched, in accordance with Edds. Coleman was additionally hospitalized following the crash, however the extent of her accidents was unclear.
Santa Ana police raised $8,000 to assist the kids and purchased toys for them for Christmas, mentioned Santa Ana Police Division Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. All of them have damaged legs, and the oldest additionally has damaged arms, Bertagna mentioned.
Coleman driving a black Vary Rover southbound on Newport Coast Drive when the SUV collided with the victims’ Nissan Versa as Saldana turned onto Pelican Hills Highway South at 7:46 p.m., in accordance with Heather Rangel, a spokeswoman for the Newport Seashore Police Division.
Rangel mentioned the three kids had been using within the again seat of the sedan. She mentioned Coleman “probably” ran a purple mild.
Saldana-Mejia and his spouse had been pronounced lifeless on the scene.
His sister informed a tv station that he had been on his solution to decide up his final paycheck at The Resort at Pelican Hill, the place he not too long ago labored in housekeeping.
The GoFundMe for the three orphaned children has raised over $100,000 on the time of this report.