MURRIETA – A Murrieta woman accused of killing a motorist and injuring her passenger in a DUI crash triggered when the defendant knocked over a sign in a construction zone pleaded not guilty today to gross vehicular manslaughter.
Yadira Gonzalez, 38, could face 15 years in prison if convicted of killing 40-year-old Emma Araujo of Long Beach and severely injuring the woman’s older sister in a Nov. 3 wreck in San Jacinto.
Gonzalez appeared before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Judith Clark, who scheduled a felony settlement conference in the case for May 8 and set the defendant’s bail at $125,000. Gonzalez is being held at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
Along with the manslaughter count, she’s charged with DUI resulting in injury and multiple sentence-enhancing great bodily injury allegations.
On the night of the wreck, Gonzalez was headed eastbound in her Chrysler PT Cruiser when she slammed into a flashing arrow board mounted on an unhitched trailer. According to sheriff’s officials, the sign was directing motorists to merge into the right lane because of construction-related closures on the roadway.
Gonzalez — whose blood-alcohol level was .20, more than ….MORE