Young driver accused in fatal head-on crash pleads not guilty - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Young driver accused in fatal head-on crash pleads not guilty

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An 18-year-old who allegedly was on drugs when he got into a head-on freeway crash that killed a 22-year-old driver in Rancho Penasquitos pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence causing injury.

Timothy Theodore Barnette -- held on $100,000 bail -- faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, Deputy District Attorney Roy Lai said.

Lai told Judge Lorna Alksne that three people called 911 to report Barnette driving erratically on Ted Williams Parkway -- which turns into state Route 56 -- before the 9:40 a.m. crash on May 16 that killed Nick Hart.

One 911 caller said Barnette drove on the curb, another said he made a U-turn on a freeway ramp, and a third said he ran a red light and almost hit her car, Lai said.

Shortly thereafter, Barnette's 2002 Ranger Rover sport utility vehicle veered out of an eastbound lane on state Route 56, crossed a center median and smashed into Hart's oncoming 2010 Toyota Scion near Black Mountain Road.

Hart, a 2009 Poway High School graduate and former Cal State San Marcos student, was on his way to a family funeral at the time of the collision, according to a relative. He died at at the scene.

A preliminary toxicology report showed marijuana and Xanax in Barnette's system at the time of the crash, Lai said.

Lai unsuccessfully argued that Barnette's bail be increased to $200,000 because he represents a danger to the community.

A readiness conference was scheduled for June 11 and a preliminary hearing set for June 13.

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