Driver pleads not guilty

first_imgGuerra and Hector Saenz, 18, of Whittier, who was sitting behind her in the car, were injured. Deputy District Attorney Carmelia Mejia asked Judge Mark Nelson to set bail at $150,000. Guerra’s lawyer, Donald Herzstein, asked Nelson to release his client on her own recognizance or grant a low bail. He said that the Cypress College student wasn’t a flight risk, has no record and has strong family support. He pointed out that she hasn’t driven since the crash and is anguished about what happened. A coach, teachers, friends and family members sent letters testifying to Guerra’s character, he said. Nelson said one thing suggested by the facts of the case was that Guerra exercised incredibly bad judgment, and that allegedly led to the loss of life. “To ensure she returns to court, I will set bail at $70,000,” Nelson said. He ordered Guerra to accompany the two Whittier police officers in court to the station so she could be booked. She will be back at Whittier Superior Court on Oct. 3 for a preliminary hearing. Guerra’s family and friends were in court, as were relatives of Valasquez, Gutierrez and Unzueta. They declined to comment. “We have four victims. In addition to that, three families dealing with their loss. It’s hard for them,” Mejia said. Herzstein said he can only imagine the pain of the families and what they are going through. “This is really a terrible thing. It was a horrendous accident,” he said. “This wasn’t a malicious, malicious act.” He said there has been little contact between his client and the families of the other teens. He said he told Guerra not to talk about the incident but added that she is sorry. “She’s gone through hell, too,” Herzstein said. Whittier police cited her on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter on the day of the crash. While authorities said it was Guerra’s driving that led to the crash, they haven’t revealed how fast she was going. She was reportedly swerving in and out of traffic at one point. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER – The Whittier driver in a single-car crash that killed three teens pleaded not guilty Thursday to vehicular manslaughter. The charges against Xenia Delilia Guerra, 18, also include one count of reckless driving causing bodily injury because a fourth passenger ended up hospitalized as a result of the April 3 crash on Colima Road. Whittier police said Guerra’s reckless driving caused her to lose control of the silver 2006 Toyota Scion and strike a tree. The car was sheared in half. Three of her passengers – Albert Joseph Valasquez, 19, and Jennifer Unzueta, 18, both of Whittier, and Joshua David Gutierrez, 19, of Pico Rivera – were pronounced dead at the scene. Coroner’s reports showed they died of multiple traumatic injuries. last_img read more