Crime, Fire + Courts

Davis woman pleads no contest to vehicular manslaughter

By Jess Sullivan

FAIRFIELD — A 21-year-old Davis woman pleaded no contest Tuesday to a misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charge for a Nov. 21, 2011, fatal crash that killed a friend.

The late-night crash occurred along westbound Interstate 80 just inside the Solano County line, when Hillary A. Higgins fell asleep at the wheel of her 1994 Ford Escort, drifted off the freeway and crashed into a tree.

Higgins’ passenger, 36-year-old David Erickson, also from Davis, was not wearing a seat belt and suffered fatal injuries in the crash. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Higgins was wearing a seat belt, but sustained major injuries.

The couple had been sleeping in the car in a shopping center parking lot until a security guard rousted them and ordered them to leave, according to Higgins’ attorney.

Four months after the crash, Solano County prosecutors filed felony charges against Higgins, including a charge of driving under the influence and causing a fatal crash. Lab tests results of Higgins’ blood revealed she had used methamphetamine and marijuana before the crash, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that the amounts of the drugs were “trace amounts” and were insufficient to be directly linked the crash.

Higgins, who already has spent two months in jail, was ordered released on her own recognizance until her sentencing Aug. 7. She faces up to one year in jail.

— Reach Jess Sullivan at [email protected]

McNaughton Newspapers

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