The Press-Democrat reports that the wife of Sonoma County Sheriff Eddie Engram waived her right to a preliminary hearing in court on Tuesday.
Natasha Whittinghill-Engram, 48, pleaded guilty to two counts of DUI and related charges for her role in a crash on May 20, 2023, in Santa Rosa.
A preliminary hearing would have allowed the judge in the case to hear evidence and decide whether a defendant should stand trial. Since Whittinghill-Engram is pleading guilty, the defense felt it unnecessary.
“It’s a procedural hearing we didn’t need to have,” Marty Woods, attorney for Ms. Whittinghill-Engram, told reporters.
According to court documents, Whittinghill-Engram crashed her vehicle into a home at the intersection of Beaumont Way and Calistoga Road in northeast Santa Rosa.
Police reports indicate that she drove her Tesla over a curb, through a fence, and into the house occupied by two people. A woman inside the house was injured by debris from the crash. Her husband, who was in the bedroom sleeping, was uninjured.
Prosecutors with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office allege that the defendant had a blood-alcohol level of .20 percent – more than twice the legal level of .08 percent at the time of the crash.
Sheriff Engram arrived at the scene a short time later but kept his distance as Santa Rosa Police officers investigated the incident. Whittinghill-Engram was arrested and taken into custody and was released a few hours later after posting a $100,000 bond.
Whittinghill-Engram is scheduled to appear in court for arraignment on two felony counts of DUI and DUI causing injury on February 16.