SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An 18-year-old woman who allegedly got behind the wheel after drinking alcohol was arrested in the wake of a hit-and-run accident that killed a pedestrian on Interstate 8 in the Ocean Beach area, a California Highway Patrol spokesman reported Monday.
Nikolette Kristina Gallo of Rancho Penasquitos was taken into custody at her home about noon Sunday, nearly eight hours after a passer-by found the body of 23-year-old Sho Funai alongside the freeway, just east of Nimitz Boulevard, CHP public-affairs Officer Art Athans said.
It was unclear why Funai, a former Rancho Palos Verdes resident believed to have been attending a San Diego university, ventured onto the shoulder of the interstate on foot.
"How the pedestrian got out there, we're not sure yet," Athans said.
Gallo told investigators she had just dropped off a friend in the beach area and was on her way home when she hit what she thought was a discarded sofa alongside the eastbound side of the freeway, Athans said.
The next morning, she saw news coverage of the pedestrian fatality and told her father she feared she may have been the involved motorist, he said. They contacted an attorney, who got in touch with the Highway Patrol and said investigating officers could meet with his clients at the Gallo home.
There, they got a statement from the teenager, who allegedly admitted to drinking prior to the accident, and inspected her 2007 Toyota Camry, which had significant front-end damage, according to Athans.
Gallo was booked on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and driving under the influence. She was released on bail later in the day, a jail clerk said.
A state "zero tolerance" DUI law makes it illegal for anyone younger than 21 to drive with any alcohol at all in his or her system, as opposed to an amount in excess of 0.08 percent, as is the case with motorists over that age, Athans noted.