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Name: People v. Sup. Ct. (Riverside)
Case #: D082865
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/30/2024

After a high-speed chase, defendant intoxicated on opioids crashed her car, with the vehicle coming to rest mid-freeway. As police attempted to get unresponsive defendant to exit the car, obstructed traffic backed up behind them. Thirty minutes after defendant crashed, a distracted and speeding tractor-trailer driver rear-ended a stopped vehicle roughly one and a half miles away from crash site, ultimately killing an adjacent driver. The defense moved successfully under PC 995 to dismiss PC 187 (Watson) and VC 2800.3(b) charges, with the DA seeking writ review. The Court of Appeal held that no probable cause supported either charge. Regarding the PC 187 charge, there was insufficient evidence that unconscious or barely-conscious defendant, while in the crashed car, exhibited conscious disregard for human life. The VC 2800.3(b) evidence was similarly lacking based on an absence of a willful act by defendant while inside the crashed car. The concurring opinion reaches same result on proximate cause grounds.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: