A woman on probation for DUI when she allegedly crashed into another motorist in Rancho Bernardo, killing him, pleaded not guilty Friday to second-degree murder.
Freesia Vargas, 24, faces 15 years to life in state prison if convicted of causing the Jan. 6 death of John Atcheson, 71.
The wreck occurred at the intersection of Meandro Drive and Rancho Bernardo Road. Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright said Atcheson died “almost instantly.”
Vargas suffered serious injuries in the crash. She was on probation for a prior offense at the time and was speeding, the prosecutor alleged.
Vargas recorded a .14 blood-alcohol reading a few hours after the crash, according to Bright.
At Vargas’ arraignment, defense attorney Herb Weston said the initial crash findings indicated his client was not at fault.
At the time, police said Atcheson pulled out in front of a 2001 Toyota Tacoma that was headed east on Rancho Bernardo Road. The Tacoma broadsided him.
The court set bail at $250,000 for Vargas. She’s due back in court Oct. 20 for a readiness conference.
– City News Service
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