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Suspected DUI Driver Pleads Not Guilty in Fatal Wrong-Way 52 Freeway Crash


Crash wreckage
The wreckage of the Honda after the fatal crash. Courtesy OnScene.TV

A suspected drunken driver who allegedly drove the wrong way on state Route 52 near Kearny Mesa and crashed head-on into another vehicle, killing that motorist, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that include gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Maricela Diaz, 23, is accused in a predawn crash on Aug. 26, near Interstate 805.

The California Highway Patrol said an eastbound Chevrolet pickup crashed into the victim’s westbound Honda sedan just after 2:30 a.m.

Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright alleged Diaz had a blood-alcohol content of .2% after the crash, which is more than twice the legal limit for driving.

Killed in the crash was a 49-year-old El Cajon man, who Bright identified as Roberto Mendez Sanchez.

Diaz, identified by the CHP at the time only as a 23-year-old San Diego woman, was taken to a hospital with minor injuries and later arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. Records indicate she was booked into county jail on Thursday.

She was being held on $100,000 bail following Friday morning’s arraignment.

City News Service contributed to this article.


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