EL CAJON, Calif. – A man accused of crashing his SUV into an adult daycare facility in La Mesa while under the influence of drugs, killing a man inside the building, pleaded not guilty Friday to gross vehicular manslaughter and other charges.
Daniel Joseph Corona, 61, of La Mesa, is accused in the July 28 crash that killed 41-year-old Braden Jockmyhn, an employee of the Golden Life ADHC Center on University Avenue.
According to La Mesa police Lt. Greg Runge, Corona was headed east about 5:30 p.m. when his vehicle veered off the roadway, crossed a sidewalk and smashed into the building.
Jockmyhn was pronounced dead at the scene, and Corona was hospitalized for a broken back.
He was arrested earlier this week following an “extensive follow-up investigation” by La Mesa police and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office DUI Homicide Team, Runge said.
Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright said Corona tested positive for fentanyl and methamphetamine. Both those drugs, as well as cocaine, were found inside his totaled vehicle, she said.
At Corona’s arraignment in an El Cajon courtroom, the prosecutor requested that he remain held in custody, alleging he presented a risk to the public due to daily drug use.
Deputy Public Defender Lesley O’Brien asked for a possible supervised release that would include monitoring through a drug screening patch, as well as other conditions such as surrendering his driver’s license.
Bright argued such measures wouldn’t be enough to secure the public’s safety, alleging that a few days after being released from the hospital, Corona rented a car and continued driving “even knowing he’d killed someone.”
Judge Michelle Ialeggio reduced bail from $1 million to $250,000, but declined to approve supervised release, citing the potential risk to the public.
In addition to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, Corona is charged with DUI causing injury and possession of controlled substances.
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