ANAHEIM – A Filipino-American woman accused of driving while distracted causing a fatal accident is due back in court again for an arraignment hearing on Thursday, April 4.
Prosecutors allege Jorene Ypante Nicolas was driving her Toyota Prius at 80 miles per hour on the 405 Freeway near Huntington Beach in April 2011, when she crashed into another vehicle driven by Deanna Mauer, a 23-year-old Orange County native and softball star at San Jose State University.
Mauer was killed on impact.
Nicolas and her lawyer, Eric Lampel, contend it was a car accident.
Police arrested Nicolas last year, nine months after the accident, and charged her with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
Nicolas faces six years in prison.
She has pleaded not guilty.
In a previous interview with Asian Journal, OC District Attorney Prosecutor Alison Gyves they conducted a thorough investigation including a reconstruction of the crash before charging Nicolas with manslaughter.
Mauer’s family believes Nicolas was either on the phone or texting while driving leading up to the fatal accident.
Lampel said his client was not speeding, texting or on the phone.
No one is quite sure exactly what happened moments before the crash.
(LA Midweek April 3-5, 2013 Sec A pg.1)
[EDITED: April 3. An earlier version of this story mentioned the trial for Nicolas will start on Thursday. Nicolas is actually due back in court for an arraignment. The story has been changed.]