UPDATE: Laguna Beach Woman Pleads Not Guilty in March DUI Case

Leslie Juarez, 27, is accused of being drunk in an accident that killed a motorcyclist on the 405 freeway.

UPDATE, TUESDAY, 10:30 P.M.: Juarez pleaded not guilty today in court. She is next due to appear July 24 in a pretrial hearing.

ORIGINAL POST: A 27-year-old woman accused of driving drunk and triggering a March 29 crash that killed a motorcyclist and injured another motorist on the 405 Freeway in Irvine was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on gross vehicular manslaughter and DUI charges.

Leslie Juarez of Laguna Beach was charged June 5 with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing bodily injury and driving with a blood-alcohol level higher than the legal limit of .08 percent or more causing bodily injury.

Juarez also faces sentence-enhancing allegations of driving with a blood alcohol level of .20 percent or more, causing bodily injury or death to more than one victim, and inflicting great bodily injury.

Juarez was southbound on the freeway near Sand Canyon at 11:30 p.m. on March 15 and traveling at a high rate of speed when her 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse collided with a 2006 Nissan Sentra driven by 21-year-old Joelle Friedlander, Deputy District Attorney Nancy Hayashida said.

Friedlander lost control of the Sentra, which veered over the center divider into the northbound lanes. Friendlander's car was disabled and she got out and ran to the center median, the prosecutor said.

About two minutes later, 32-year-old JC Droege slammed his northbound 1991 Suzuki motorcycle into the Sentra, Hayashida said.

Droege was pronounced dead at the scene and Friedlander was taken to a hospital for treatment of a fractured ankle and other injuries.

About two hours following the crash, Juarez's blood-alcohol level was measured at .23 percent, nearly three times the legal limit, Hayashida said.

—City News Service

LagunaVahine June 19, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Martino June 19, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Give her life !!!
Kasey Konkel June 19, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Not all kids from Laguna Beach are spoiled, but she was likely one who was! Parents with means need to teach their children that there are consequences to their actions not matter how easy things come to them.


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