Woman gets 2 days jail for running light, killing nanny

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SUVstrollerSAN DIEGO — A woman who ran a red light and hit a nanny pushing a baby across a street in a stroller, killing the woman and injuring the child, was sentenced Friday to 48 hours in jail, 180 days on electronic surveillance and three years probation.

Christine Padilla, 35, pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter and infractions of running a red light and failure to yield at a crosswalk.

The Feb. 1 accident at Camino del Sur and Via Verrazzano in Torrey Highlands happened about 11:45 a.m. The impact threw Monserrat Mendez about 30 feet and dragged the stroller with a 14-month-old boy strapped inside across the intersection, leaving it wedged under Padilla’s Toyota 4Runner.

Paramedics took the 41-year-old Mendez to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where she was pronounced dead. The toddler was treated at Rady Children’s Hospital for serious injuries, including a skull fracture, broken bones, a lacerated spleen and broken ribs.

An investigation revealed that Padilla was not speeding or talking on her cellphone when the accident occurred, but the defendant had given birth 33 hours earlier and was “extremely sleep deprived,” said Deputy City Attorney Nicole Kukas.

Kukas said not getting any sleep for 24 hours is comparable to a person driving under the influence.

“She (Padilla) should not have been driving,” the prosecutor told Judge Charles Gill.

Mendez’s 16-year-old daughter said she and her mother were best friends.

“There’s nothing that will bring my mother back,” Amy Barragan said. “I just can’t explain the pain we’re going through right now.”

Allison Fomon, the mother of the injured toddler, said her son Bryan suffered “unnecessarily” because of the defendant’s actions.

“On February 1st, the defendant broke our family,” Fomon said. “Why was she driving the day after having a baby?”

Fomon said Padilla was only concerned for herself, telling probation officers she needed to stay out of custody so she could care for her two young daughters.

Fomon said the defendant using her children as pawns was “despicable.” Fomon, herself a prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office, called Padilla’s grant of probation a “slap in the face.”

“Aren’t the lives of Monse (Monserrat Mendez) and my son worth more than this?” Fomon asked in her statement to the court.

Padilla apologized to both families and said she has been “devastated” by the accident.

“If I could take your pain and make it mine, I would,” Padilla told the families of the victims.

8 comments

  • Melissa

    I can't believe her only punishment was 2 days in jail. That is ridiculous! I understand that she didn't maliciously try to kill the nanny and baby, but she did kill someone. She should serve restitution for her careless actions. And I am a mother of a 2 year old boy. I couldn't imagine what all the families went through. But this could have been prevented had she not driven. What the hell was thinking?!

  • Jeff Gross

    Distracted/impaired driving is epidemic. Vehicular manslaughter should mandate permanent loss of drivers license. Driving is a privilege not a right.

  • Baffled

    I'll bet she would have been sentenced to a whole lot longer time if the baby in the stroller had died! Guess the Nanny's life didn't mean anything.
    California and its judges are known for their bleeding hearts…PATHETIC!!!

  • raven

    God forbid any of you find yourselves in this position. We've all accidentally ran red lights and have driven tired. My grandmother was killed in an accident and we REFUSED to allow any charges be brought against the driver. It was an accident. We knew he would have to live with this the rest of his life. That in itself is torture. We wrote him a letter and told him we held no ill will. Sometimes things just happen.

    • Dixie

      God bless you and your family Raven, for having good sense despite your family's tragedy. Those who are out for blood would think twice if the one behind the wheel was their family member. There was no criminal intent, and no maliciousness. It was nothing more than an unfortunate accident.

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