A Southern California woman is facing serious charges in a California DUI trial that began last week. Elva Diaz pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, and driving under the influence with a suspended driver’s license in connection with the crash that killed Orland teen Rachel Elliot.
If convicted, Diaz faces 15 years to life in prison, stated John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside District Attorney’s Office. According to the Willows Journal, the 31-year-old former ambulance driver remains in custody at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, with bail set at $500,000.
Prosecutors allege Diaz was driving under the influence and speeding while traveling the wrong way up the northbound lane of traffic on Knabe Road in Corona when she collided head-on with the vehicle driven by Elliot on Feb. 21, 2008. According to authorities, her blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash was .20.
Although Diaz was arrested at the scene of the California DUI accident, she reportedly fled to Mexico after posting bail. She was finally apprehended last July in the rural Mexican town of Santa De Camotlan, several hours outside Guadalajara.
Tragically, Elliot played a key role in her high school’s California DUI awareness programs, including taking a lead role in Orland’s Every 15 Minutes DUI program less than a year before her death.
This case highlights the life-changing implications of a California DUI. We encourage all of our readers to consider this story before drinking and driving.
If you are charged with California DUI accident involving death or serious injuries, it is imperative to consult with an experienced California DUI defense attorney who can help you determine your legal options.