Man accused of killing activist in DUI crash must stand trial - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man accused of killing activist in DUI crash must stand trial

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A motorist accused of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and running down a community activist removing graffiti in Mission Beach must stand trial on gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run charges, a judge ruled Thursday. 
   
Jonathan Domingo Garcia, 23, is accused in the Feb. 12 death of 69-year- old Maruta Gardner.
   
Following a two-day preliminary hearing, Judge David Rubin found that enough evidence was presented for Garcia to proceed to trial. He faces 15 years in prison if convicted.

RELATED: Hearing for driver accused in deadly DUI of community activist
   
According to court testimony, Garcia was fleeing from another motorist he had rear-ended around dusk at North Jetty Road and Mission Boulevard when he stopped at a stop sign, then accelerated, hitting Gardner near the curb.
    
Gardner's husband said his wife was putting her Kindle in the basket of her tricycle -- which was parked in the road -- when she was struck.
    
Garcia allegedly drove off and pulled into a parking lot, then drove back past the crash scene, according to court testimony. A police officer followed Garcia and pulled him over.

RELATED: Beloved community activist killed by alleged drunk driver
    
About three hours before the crash, Garcia and a friend were seen slashing tires on cars a few blocks away, according to testimony.
    
A detective testified that Garcia admitted drinking beers and smoking marijuana that day.
    
Garcia's blood-alcohol content was measured at .079 percent after the accident, and marijuana and depressants were also in his system, said Deputy District Attorney Steven Schott.
    
Garcia -- held on $550,000 bail -- will be back in court June 15 for a readiness conference. Trial was set for Sept. 9.
    
Gardner, a former principal at Mission Bay High School, was honored by the San Diego City Council last year, which declared Nov. 3 ``Maruta Gardner
Day.''

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