Friday, January 18, 2008

Cops made mistake in identifying San Diego California DUI driver

San Diego California DUI lawyer news

More than a month after four people were killed in a fiery, late-night San Diego California DUI accident along state Route 76, San Diego California DUI investigators now say they are convinced it was a 23-year-old woman who was driving an SUV while drunk that is responsible.

Deanna Fridley was arrested Thursday night at Palomar Medical Center where she has been hospitalized since the Dec. 14 San Diego California DUI accident, the Highway Patrol said. She is to be charged with four counts of vehicular manslaughter and San Diego California DUI driving while under the influence of alcohol when she is arraigned Friday afternoon from her hospital bed.

CHP spokesman Eric Newbury said the San Diego California DUI arrest follows a “careful and meticulous investigation” that has concluded the agency was wrong when they issued several public statements identifying the other person in the SUV – Anthony Boles – as the San Diego California DUI driver.

“Obviously, we made a mistake,” Newbury said.

Boles, 24, has not charged in connection with the crash. He has, however, been in jail ever since on drug possession charges because officers found a small amount of methamphetamine hidden in his sock.

The CHP initially said Boles was the driver of the GMC Yukon that hit a guardrail about three miles east of the Pala Casino entrance and then veered into the opposing lane at a spot where the highway curves sharply.

All four people traveling west in a Toyota Camry were killed in the resulting head-on collision. Investigators said they probably had only a few seconds to realize what was happening as they rounded the blind curve.

The crash killed Jesus De Santiago, 45, and Lina De Santiago, 46, of Escondido, and Rubi Baez, 46, and Luis Baez, 51, of Vista. The couples had been friends for many years and were out for a night of fun, a relative said.

The Baezes are survived by three sons, the Santiagos by a daughter and a son. Newbury said Fridley denies being the driver, but he said witnesses contacted days after the San Diego California DUI crash said she made statements in the minutes following the collision that implicated herself.

Even as he was being pulled from the San Diego California DUI wreckage, Boles said Fridley had been driving the SUV. He has maintained he was not the driver ever since.

San Diego California DUI Investigators also have a videotape taken in the parking lot of the Pala Casino showing Fridley getting behind the wheel of the Yukon and driving off, Newbury said.

The injuries suffered by Fridley are also consistent with her being the San Diego California DUI driver, he said. Specifically her right leg was seriously hurt, San Diego California DUI investigators believe, while she was applying the car's brakes at the time of the San Diego California DUI crash.

Her San Diego California DUI lawyer will question the delay in this investigation, among other things.