A Yolo County vehicular manslaughter trial has been rescheduled to begin in January for a teen accused in a fiery Woodland wreck earlier this year that killed a woman and her granddaughter and critically injured two other family members.
The 13-year-old boy facing charges in the deadly crash was behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle that crashed into two other cars April 8 at the intersection of College and Court streets, the Woodland Police Department has said.
Authorities have not released the boy’s name because he is a minor. The teen has pleaded not guilty in Yolo Juvenile Court.
Four-year-old Adalina Lilah Perez and her grandmother, Tina Vital, 43, died from their injuries in the crash. The girl died at a hospital four days after the crash; her grandmother was pronounced dead at the scene.
Along with the charge of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, the teen faces charges of evading police causing injury, vehicle theft, evading police while driving recklessly, child endangerment, driving without a license and evading police causing death.
His trial had been scheduled to begin this week in Yolo Superior Court, but attorneys for the defendant successfully argued for the court to delay the trial over the prosecution’s objections. The postponement was the trial’s third delay, according to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office.
On Monday, Judge Janene Beronio met with the attorneys in the case to reschedule the teen’s trial. Jonathan Raven, a District Attorney’s Office spokesman, confirmed that Beronio scheduled a jurisdictional hearing to start Jan. 16 and end Jan. 26.
In California Juvenile Court, a jurisdictional hearing is when a trial may take place. California juvenile trials do not go before a jury; a judge determines whether the youth did what they’re accused of.
Raven also confirmed that the judge scheduled a Dec. 4 hearing to determine whether they will be able to begin the trial in January.
Defense attorney Martina Avalos has cited delays in obtaining a psychological evaluation of her 13-year-old client and expects to have the evaluation in hand by next month, the Davis Enterprise reported.
The repeated trial delays have left the victims’ family frustrated with the process, Vital’s brother Victor Ramirez told the Enterprise, which was the first to report the rescheduled trial dates.
Prosecutors allege the teen defendant stole his family’s SUV and led California Highway Patrol officers in a chase before the SUV crashed into the car carrying Vital and her granddaughter, as well as a second vehicle.
A total of 11 people were injured in the three-vehicle crash, including the underage driver, authorities have said. Four people rode in one of the vehicles. Six others were in the second car. The force of the collision left the cars stacked one atop another.