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Driver under the influence to be charge with killing cyclist and fleeing

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In my last posting here (see link below) I mentioned the death of a young cyclist Joey Robinson who was killed on February 2, 2014, riding in a bike lane on Santiago Canyon Road. He was killed by a young woman suspected to be under the influence of drugs who was caught after she fled the scene. In that article I said I would be in contact with the OC District Attorney’s Office to inform them that I will be monitoring and reporting on its prosecution of the driver. Today I received the following from the DA’s Office:

SANTA ANA – Driver under the influence of methamphetamine is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for killing a cyclist in a hit-and-run crash. Sommer Nicole Gonzales, 18, Tustin, is charged with one felony count each of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, driving under the influence of drugs causing bodily injury, hit and run with death, possession of a controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of use and under the influence of a controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia, and sentencing enhancement allegations for inflicting great bodily injury, and fleeing the scene of a crime. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 15 years and eight months in state prison for the felonies and one year and six months in Orange County jail for the misdemeanors. The defendant is being held on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-57, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 6:55 a.m. on Feb. 2, 2014, Gonzales is accused of driving under the influence of methamphetamine in her Toyota Corolla sedan southbound on Santiago Canyon Road in Orange and veering into the bike lane. She is accused of hitting 21-year-old Joseph Robinson, who was lawfully riding his bike within the marked bike lane. The defendant is accused of fleeing the scene, not stopping to render any assistance to the victim, or reporting the accident. A witness, who was driving in the vicinity of the hit and run, saw substantial damage to Gonzales’ vehicle and called 911 to give a description of her car.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputies found the defendant and her vehicle approximately an hour after the crash in a parking lot in Rancho Santa Margarita, where damage was observed to her car consistent with being involved in a serious collision. Gonzales is accused of showing objective signs of being under the influence of a controlled substance and had methamphetamine and a pipe in her possession. The defendant is accused of later testing positive for methamphetamine in her blood.

The same witness that reported the defendant’s vehicle to police found Robinson severely injured by the side of the road. The victim suffered severe blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene.

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