Tuesday, November 20, 2007

San Diego DUI Death results in arrest of Best Friend

California DUI - San Diego DUI criminal defense attorney news for California

OCEANSIDE, California – Natasha Dannov was not your average California girl.

The recent Fountain Valley High School graduate was full of life and loved to sing. She prized anything vintage and wanted to move to Chicago where things seemed more "old world," said her mother, Isabelle Dannov.

But her dreams came to an end early Sunday morning.

Natasha Dannov was killed in a solo vehicle crash in Oceanside on her 18th birthday. The driver, her best friend, Marian Teri Kahale, 18, also of Fountain Valley, was arrested on suspicion of felony California DUI - driving under the influence of alcohol and manslaughter, officials said Tuesday.

"I loved my only girl," Dannov’s mother said. "She was a beautiful singer and very artistic."

Members of the Kahale family declined to comment on the California DUI crash.

Dannov and Kahale had gone to a friend’s party Saturday night in Mission Viejo, where the two began drinking, Isabelle Dannov said. The girls decided to go home, and instead of getting on the I-5 north, they headed south. Kahale discovered she was driving the wrong way when the pair was in Oceanside about 2 a.m., Dannov said.

Natasha Dannov was sleeping without a seatbelt when the car veered off the freeway before overturning and striking a guardrail, ejecting her from the 2000 Ford Explorer, CHP officials said. She was declared dead at the scene by Camp Pendleton fire officials.

Dannov was initially identified as a Huntington Beach resident by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Kahale was arrested at the scene of the crash, CHP Officer Tom Kearns said. She was taken to a local hospital under police supervision for treatment of moderate injuries, and is being held in the Las Colinas Detention Center in lieu of $250,000 bail.

"That was her best friend of 10 years,’" Isabelle Dannov said about her daughter and Kahale. "They adored each other."

Dannov said Kahale is like her second daughter.

"Natasha was my cousin, and I loved her very very much," a poster named Camille from Montpellier, France wrote. "I'm so sad she died, and I will miss her all my life."

Isabelle Dannov said she knew her daughter went to parties and drank alcohol, and she had taken measures in the past to make sure that Natasha returned home safe. On Friday, when the girls were planning to attend a different party, the mother had arranged for a friend to drive the girls home.

Dannov said she did not know the girls were attending the Mission Viejo party.

The state Alcohol Beverages Control Board in conjunction with the CHP will conduct a 24-hour history leading to the crash to determine where the pair – both underage – could have gotten the alcohol to drink, Kearns said.

Dannov said she plans to make it her mission to share with her Golden West students the danger of drinking and driving.