EL CAJON (CNS) - A motorist accused of being under the influence of prescription drugs when his vehicle fatally struck a Lakeside woman pleaded not guilty Thursday to a pair of felony charges.
Joel Joseph Silva of Julian faces one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter while impaired and driving under the influence of drugs causing injury, according to Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright.
The victim, 34-year-old Kimberly Eakin, was struck around 5 p.m. Sunday as she walked along Woodside Avenue in Lakeside, near Lindo Lake Park.
She was hit by a westbound 2015 Toyota Rav4 that drifted off the roadway near Riverview Avenue, striking Eakin and also a metal pole, a light standard and a gate before coming to a stop, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Authorities said Silva may have been under the influence of at least one prescription drug at the time of the accident and may have fallen asleep behind the wheel. Investigators said they found several medication bottles inside his SUV.
He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, Bright said.
Judge Daniel Goldstein set bail at $1 million and scheduled a readiness conference for Dec. 10 at the El Cajon Courthouse.