Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated is a felony in California, only one step below an actual murder charge. Manslaughter, while very similar to a murder charge, does not imply that the killing of the other party was intentional. In order for a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter to be proven, very specific conditions must be met. This can be a boon to the defendant because if every aspect of the charge cannot be proven, there is reasonable doubt and a guilty verdict cannot occur. KTLA reports on a woman facing this charge after an accident which killed two friends and injured three others.
An Uber driver, Daren Rauer, witnessed the overnight crash, which occurred at about 1:23 a.m. near the South Santa Monica Boulevard and Wilshire Boulevard intersection in Beverly Hills.
“It was a horrible thing to have witnessed,” Rauer said.
The vehicle, a white BMW X5, overturned while heading east on South Santa Monica Boulevard. Several passengers, who were not wearing seatbelts, were ejected. Authorities believe that the vehicle may not have been equipped with enough safety belts to accommodate all six persons in the vehicle.
All of the occupants were women, aged from 20 to 35. Police believe that the vehicle was speeding when the driver lost control after running a red light. The vehicle then slammed into a tree.
Two of the women died of the injuries sustained in the accident.
30-year-old Taisha Welch, the driver of the vehicle, was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI, driving on suspended license, and driving without a license.
She was being held on $100,000 bail and had a court appearance scheduled for May 1st.