Accused drunk driver pleads not guilty in death of elderly coupl - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Accused drunk driver pleads not guilty in death of elderly couple

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VISTA (CNS) - The 20-year-old man allegedly driving a car that fatally struck a couple walking north of Valley Center pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI causing injury.

Earl Decarlos Smith Jr. was ordered held on $1 million bail.

The Oceanside resident was driving east on Old Castle Road about 6:15 a.m. Sunday when his 2011 Toyota Corolla drifted to the right and struck the couple as they walked with their backs to traffic near Mauka Drive, according to the California Highway Patrol. Both victims died at the scene.

Neighbors said the victims -- 79-year-old Carl Henry Ackermann and his 78-year-old wife, Eunice, had been taking a daily stroll down Old Castle Road for 30 years.

Smith faces 15 years in prison if convicted. He will be back in court Aug. 14 for a readiness conference and Sept. 11 for a preliminary hearing.

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