Not guilty plea for woman charged in fatal DUI crash - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Not guilty plea for woman charged in fatal DUI crash

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A woman who was allegedly under the influence of a strong prescription medication at the time of a crash in University City that killed a 77-year-old man in another car pleaded not guilty Friday to gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI charges.

Soranon Booppanon, 39, was ordered held on $100,000 bail. She faces 15 years in prison if convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of drugs.

Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey told Judge David Szumowski that Booppanon blew through a red light at Genesee Avenue while heading west on La Jolla Village Drive. Her vehicle hit a car, then slammed into a Volkswagen Golf, killing the 77-year-old driver and seriously injuring his 74-year-old wife, the prosecutor said.

Harvey said Booppanon was under "strong" prescription medications, and headed to the dentist, at the time of the 10:30 a.m. collision.

Deputy Public Defender Sal Tarantino told the judge that Booppanon spent 13 years in the Air Force and was being treated for injuries received while in the service, which included combat duty.

Tarantino said Booppanon -- who appeared in court in a wheelchair -- was also being treated for a viral infection.

"Apologize to the (victims') family for me," a tearful Booppanon said as she was led out of court.

Szumowski told Booppanon to contact her doctors so that the jail medical staff can treat her and give her the medications that she needs.

The judge scheduled a status conference for Oct. 30 and a preliminary hearing for Nov. 7. 

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