Thursday, 18 April 2024

REGIONAL: Passenger who caused crash held responsible for DUI

SONOMA COUNTY – In an unusual driving under the influence case, an 18-year-old female has been found responsible for DUI and causing a crash this past July.

Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua announced Tuesday that Judge Sandra McKeith sustained a juvenile court petition against the Santa Rosa teenager – whose name was not released because of her age – for misdemeanor driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage causing injury, and misdemeanor driving with a blood alcohol content of .10 percent and causing injury.

The incident for which she was charged occurred on July 12 on Hall Road in unincorporated Santa Rosa, Passalacqua's office reported.

“Although this type of prosecution is rare, the law still states that whoever has control over a vehicle is accountable for their actions. Her actions created a risk of danger to herself, her boyfriend and the community,” said Assistant District Attorney Diana Gomez.

On July 12, the then 17-year-old female was in a vehicle driven by her boyfriend, Ricardo Mendoza Dominguez, 20, from Santa Rosa. As they were driving down Hall Road they began arguing.

The prosecution alleged that both had been drinking alcohol and that they were later determined to be under the influence of alcohol.

In the midst of their argument, the female passenger became angry and grabbed the steering wheel and pushed it to the left, causing Dominguez to lose control of the vehicle, go out of control, rolling over numerous times and finally hitting a tree, according to the report.

The female juvenile was found outside of the car with a broken leg and neck. Dominguez sustained soft-tissue injuries.

The female juvenile told police at the scene and at the hospital that she had grabbed the steering wheel, causing Dominguez to lose control. Her blood alcohol level was 0.10 percent; the legal limit is 0.08 percent.

Deputy District Attorney Jenica Leonard was the prosecutor assigned to the case and was assisted by District Attorney Investigator Kris Allen. The lead investigator was California Highway Patrol Officer Oates.

The female juvenile is due back in Juvenile Court on Jan. 11, 2010.

Dominguez also was charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage and misdemeanor driving with a blood alcohol content of more than .08 percent, and is due in court on Jan. 7, 2010.

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