VISTA, Calif. (CNS) – An allegedly drugged driver accused in the deaths of a woman, her boyfriend and her two young grandsons in Escondido pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Ashley Rene Williams, 28, is charged in the deaths of Carmela Camacho, 50, Abel Valdez, 33, Yovanny Felix, 10, and Emmanuel Riva, 11, who were walking in the area of Oak Hill Drive and San Pasqual Valley Road when the defendant’s 2014 Mazda3 struck them shortly before 8:30 p.m. on May 5, Lt. Scott Walters said.
Valdez and the older child died at the scene. Medics took Camacho and Yovanny to Palomar Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead.
Williams was transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital for treatment of moderately serious injuries.
She was arrested at her home last Thursday on suspicion of DUI and four counts of murder, according to the Escondido Police Department.
Deputy District Attorney Laurie Hauf alleged that Williams was under the influence of an unspecified drug and was using her cellphone at the time of the crash. The prosecutor also said Williams was driving on a suspended license due to a previous DUI drug conviction.
Calling the case “a devastating event for our community,” Escondido police said it took four weeks to make an arrest because investigators had to analyze copious evidence, including cellphone and vehicle computer data, roadway measurements and laboratory test results.
Williams is being held on $1 million bail and is due back in court July 7 for a readiness conference.