Melissa Brigitte Brown, the 23-year-old Canyon Country woman accused of driving into a crowd gathered to watch a fireworks show on July 4, 2010, which resulted in the death of Newhall mother Matilda Garnica, pleaded no contest Monday.
Deputy District Attorney Richard Quinones said Brown pleaded to one count of vehicular manslaughter. An infraction for failure to stop at a red light was dismissed.
Prosecutors considered Brown’s previous dangerous driving citations. Brown was ticketed for speeding once in 2007 and twice in 2009. On Dec. 12, 2009, she also received a citation for running a red light. The DMV sent her warning letters “indicating she needed to slow down,” SCV Traffic Sgt. Richard Cohen said.
Brown is expected to be sentenced Nov. 9 in San Fernando Superior Court. She faces up to six years in state prison.
After running a red light on Valencia Boulevard during the city of Santa Clarita’s 2010 Independence Day fireworks show, Brown collided with another vehicle in front of the Islands restaurant and lost control of her car, which careened into a crowd of spectators gathered to watch a fireworks display. Garnica, who was on the sidewalk with some of her children and neighbors, was killed instantly. Several others sustained minor injuries.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
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