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