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18-Year-Old Pleads Not Guilty to Killing Cyclist

Sommer Nicole Gonzales is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter and being under the influence of meth.

Sommer Nicole Gonzales booking photo. Photo courtesy the Orange County District Attorney's office.
Sommer Nicole Gonzales booking photo. Photo courtesy the Orange County District Attorney's office.

An 18-year-old Tustin resident suspected of driving under the influence of methamphetamine pleaded not guilty today on a charge of vehicular manslaughter stemming from a collision that killed a bicyclist.

Sommer Nicole Gonzales was driving her Toyota Corolla sedan south on Santiago Canyon Road in Orange just before 7 a.m. on Feb. 2 when she allegedly veered into the bike lane, colliding with 21-year-old bicyclist Joseph Robinson, Deputy District Attorney Anna McIntire said.

Orange County Fire Authority Battalion Chief Marc Stone was driving north on Santiago Canyon Road near Irvine Lake slightly after the collision when he noticed a car going in the other direction with a heavily damaged windshield. His initial thought was the car collided with a deer, but when he saw a shoe in the roadway he swung his vehicle around to investigate and found the victim in the bushes.

Stone phoned in a description of the vehicle -- a 2001 Toyota -- and authorities issued a bulletin, leading to an arrest in Rancho Santa Margarita, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Todd Kovaletz.

Gonzales was arrested about 8:45 a.m. in a parking lot "trying to offload personal equipment from her vehicle into a friend's car," Kovaletz said.

A blood test showed Gonzales had methamphetamine in her system, according to McIntire.

Gonzales was charged Thursday with one 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, all felonies.

Gonzales was also charged with misdemeanor counts of use and being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia with sentencing enhancement allegations for inflicting great bodily injury and fleeing the scene of a crime.

Gonzales could face up to 15 years and eight months in prison if she is convicted at trial.

--City News Service


MisturChips April 02, 2014 at 01:14 PM
I wonder what the toxicity levels are for that junk... I don't understand why people look to imbibing / inhaling / injecting things in their bodies that cause so much trauma. I have seen the ghost bike almost every day since it was hung on the fence, and wish the best to Joseph's family.
MFriedrich April 02, 2014 at 08:26 PM
I ride motorcycle on this road and RSM parkway too. It is dangerous enough for motorycles. I cannot imagine the fear bicyclist must have. It seems every 400 yards there's a bouquette of flowers for some fallen rider.
Ben Bullard April 03, 2014 at 11:57 AM
i say no bail and death row because i am his step cousin and he was like a brother to me
Amused April 20, 2014 at 06:48 PM
Either she be an Indentured Servant or Soylent Green.
Robert Curtis April 21, 2014 at 11:56 PM
slavery (indentured servitude) to the family for 20 years sounds like a better form of punishment as long as there is accountability therapy along with it as well as working at a victims rehab center or hospital. Having her linger in prison for life serves no one and no justice. The off subject matter of the sex offender registry should be done away with after the Department of Justice latest report on their recidivism rates of only 1.8%. The registry is a Living Death it is Evil and it is Wrong. There have been children on that list as young as 9 years old. The registered sex offender is today's the new whipping boy for votes to get elected. Sad thing is churches are as quiet as a empty log and somehow okay with it. So much for walking in the ways of Grace and compassion. After someone has done their time, therapy and probation they should be left alone. If someone is so bad that they need to be on some kind of online hit-list then why are they amongst us? Oh, that's right we got to have someone to beat upon! Grace? The US. Constitution? Neither seem to apply. What say you?

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