Suspect in Cyclist's Death to Be Released From Jail Today

Prosecutors are asking California Highway Patrol officials to conduct more investigation.

The Orange County District Attorney's office wants more investigation into a cyclist's death on Santiago Canyon Road. Patch file photo.
The Orange County District Attorney's office wants more investigation into a cyclist's death on Santiago Canyon Road. Patch file photo.

An 18-year-old woman suspected of driving while high on drugs and fatally striking a bicycle rider in Orange -- then fleeing the scene to Rancho Santa Margarita -- was expected to be released from jail today, with prosecutors asking for more investigation before filing charges.

Orange County prosecutors want California Highway Patrol officers to conduct more investigation before charging Sommer N. Gonzales of Tustin, according to Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Gonzales, who was being held without bail, was expected to be released from Orange County Jail, CHP Officer Todd Kovaletz said.

Gonzales was arrested about 8:45 a.m. Sunday, following the roughly 7 a.m. collision that killed 21-year-old Joseph Robinson, Kovaletz said.

Investigators suspect she was under the influence of drugs and are waiting for blood test results, which could take several weeks, he said.

Under state law, a criminal suspect can only be held for 48 hours without being charged.

Orange County Fire Authority Battalion Chief Marc Stone was driving north on Santiago Canyon Road near Irvine Lake about 7 a.m. Sunday when he noticed a southbound Toyota with a caved-in windshield. His initial thought was the car collided with a deer, but when he saw a shoe in the road, he turned around to investigate and found Robinson in the bushes.

Stone phoned in a description of the 2001 Toyota, and authorities issued a bulletin, leading to Gonzales' arrest in Rancho Santa Margarita, according to Kovaletz.

Gonzales' car “drifted due to her impairment”' and struck Robinson, who was bike riding on the shoulder, south of Loma Ridge in Orange, according to Kovaletz.

Gonzales kept going and was arrested in a parking lot “trying to offload personal equipment from her vehicle into a friend's car,” Kovaletz said.

Gonzales failed a field sobriety test and was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence and hit and run, the officer said.

Stone downplayed his role in the arrest.

“I didn't do anything anybody else wouldn't have done,” Stone said.

“Bottom line is I was using my gut instinct, following my intuition.”

Stone was called to the arrest scene to identify the vehicle, he said.

“Once I saw the car I knew right away,” he said. “The damage I saw in the windshield was the same damage I saw (earlier).”

--City News Service

anon February 06, 2014 at 07:27 PM
Are you serious... This girl ended someones life because of her irresponsibility and recklessness. Just because she is 18 you think learning her lesson is enough.
Frank Ramirez February 06, 2014 at 07:48 PM
I was just imagining when I was 18 and also irresponsible. I am actually a member of some So Cal Bike Clubs but I don't want to say on here. I am 100 percent for biker saftey. But I know that She Made a Stupid Mistake. Yes Ended a Life. But Let GOD judge. She has a future.
Frank Ramirez February 06, 2014 at 07:49 PM
She deserve punishment yet. Seriouspunishment. But not the end of her future. Let God Judge. I am also in some bike clubs.
Dean Patterson February 07, 2014 at 01:31 PM
@Frank....your response reeks of the current inability of many members of our society to take responsibility for their actions. Her parents share in this responsibility. Somehow, somewhere, and most likely in her upbringing, this young woman became full of herself and her own person. She was, by far, the most important thing in her life. Drunk, high on meth or coke, driving home at 7 AM...really? She needs to be kept away from all of us (for a LONG time), because we want to be safe, because we know that those kinds of decisions can only be made by someone who just has no conscience and does not care...about anything but herself. In 40 years of cycling I have been hit 5 times by cars, each one resulting in injury, some serious....and never in my experience, and never in the 'accidents' I read about are the drivers punished appropriately when they are impaired or wrong.
Michael Lee February 07, 2014 at 06:11 PM
Kudos to Dean ! I too maid many mistakes in my early years. But Drunk, Stoned or all night party, driving at 7am is stupid. I have been cycling for over 25 years and have been hit twice by cars both times the motorists fault, and I'm lucky I could have been just like Joe both times. Sommer, will have to think about this for a long time. Joes' family is without him for the rest of their life, maybe he may have been a top pro rider? Who's to know anymore.


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