SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A woman who was allegedly under the influence of a strong prescription medication at the time of a University City collision that killed a 77-year-old man in another car was ordered released from custody Thursday so she can receive treatment for medical problems.
Soranon Booppanon, 39, was charged last week with gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs. At the time, Judge David Szumowski set bail at $100,000, expressing concern that Booppanon receive treatment for what a defense attorney called "tremendous medical problems."
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 --- including combat duty -- and a viral infection.
Tarantino said Booppanon was on her way to the Veterans Administration when the crash occurred.
Following a bail review hearing Thursday, Szumowski ordered Booppanon released on her own recognizance, telling her not to drive and to leave her house only when she needs to go to medical appointments.
At Booppanon's arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey told Szumowski that the defendant blew through a red light at Genesee Avenue while heading west on La Jolla Village Drive on Oct. 23.
Her vehicle hit a car, then slammed into a Volkswagen Golf, killing George Matteson of Pacific Beach and seriously injuring his 74-year-old wife Betty.
Harvey said Booppanon was under "strong" prescription medications at the time of the 10:30 a.m. collision.
Booppanon faces 15 years in prison if convicted. A readiness conference is scheduled Nov. 5 and a preliminary hearing for Nov. 7.
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