Daughter faces 10-year sentence for crash that killed mother

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SAN DIEGO — A woman accused of driving drunk and slamming into two parked cars and a dumpster in Clairemont, killing her mother, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while impaired and DUI causing great bodily injury.

Paulina Munoz, 26, was ordered held in lieu of $250,000 bail in the death of 50-year-old Maria Isabel Villareal.

Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright told Judge Jay Bloom that Munoz spent most of Friday evening drinking with her partner and her mother.

Ignoring a text message not to drive, Munoz took off in her car with her mother and crashed about 2:20 a.m. Saturday in the 3500 block of Clairemont Drive, not far from her home, the prosecutor said. Villareal was killed almost instantly.

After the crash, Munoz told police that her mother had been driving, but officers determined that the defendant had been behind the wheel, according to Bright.

Ninety minutes after the fatal accident, Munoz’s blood-alcohol level was measured at .20 percent, about 2 1/2 times the legal limit for driving, the prosecutor said.

The judge — in raising bail from $100,000 to $250,000 — said Munoz was a danger to the public.

The defendant will be back in court Nov. 5 for a readiness conference and Jan. 6 for a preliminary hearing.

She faces 10 years in prison if convicted.

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