Crime, Fire + Courts

Not-guilty plea for driver accused of causing fatal Davis crash

By From page A1 | February 06, 2014

WOODLAND — A Woodland man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run charges stemming from a pair of weekend collisions in Davis, one of which killed an elderly woman.

Armando Arias Gonzalez Jr., 39, confirmed his name to Yolo Superior Court Commissioner Janene Beronio through a Spanish language interpreter. His attorney, Clemente Jimenez, entered the not-guilty plea on Gonzalez’s behalf.

Beronio scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for March 7 in Judge Paul Richardson’s courtroom. Jimenez also requested a bail hearing for Gonzalez, which Beronio set for 10 a.m. Friday.

Davis police say Gonzalez was the driver of a Toyota Corolla that struck a Chevy Malibu shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday on East Covell Boulevard near Baywood Lane, causing the Chevy to veer off the road and crash into a tree. The driver, 85-year-old Ruth D. Morales of Vacaville, died from her injuries about seven hours later at the UC Davis Medical Center.

Gonzalez allegedly fled the scene of that crash and rear-ended a Jeep whose driver, Davis resident Julie Mohr, had stopped for a red light while driving with her 12-year-old daughter. Both were hospitalized but were not seriously injured.

Relatives of Gonzalez who attended his arraignment hearing referred a reporter’s questions to Jimenez, who offered condolences to the crash victims and their families.

“This is, of course, an unfortunate tragedy,” Jimenez said. He added that while the events leading up to Saturday’s collisions remain under investigation, “what I can tell you is that drugs and/or alcohol absolutely were not involved.”

Gonzalez remains in Yolo County Jail custody in lieu of $100,000 bail.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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