Rebecca Cristal Sandoval, 37, of Lompoc, the woman charged with second-degree murder for a fatal traffic collision near Chumash Casino Resort in December that killed a retired teacher, pleaded not guilty Friday morning at the Santa Maria courthouse.
Dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit, Sandoval appeared in front of Judge John McGregor for the fourth time since her arrest alongside her public defender David Ogren. Sandoval has been in custody since the crash occurred the afternoon of Dec. 19 along Highway 246, east of Cuesta Road. In addition to being charged with second-degree murder, Sandoval also is charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs causing great bodily injury for the collision that killed Linda Wall, 68, of Buellton.
Wall taught French and Spanish at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School for 22 years before retiring in 2012.
California Highway Patrol officials said the collision occurred when Sandoval, who was traveling eastbound on Highway 246 in a Jeep Cherokee, crashed into the back of Wall’s Toyota Highlander. Wall’s vehicle was slowing down for a red light and Sandoval was traveling at an unsafe speed of 55 mph, CHP officials said.
The collision occurred when Sandoval, who was traveling eastbound on Highway 246, slammed her Jeep Cherokee in the back of Wall’s Toyota Highlander. The force of the collision caused Wall’s vehicle to crash into a Chevy Equinox that was carrying Simona Mikusova, 28, and Michal Miklas, 54, of the Slovak Republic. Both were treated for minor injuries at Cottage Hospital in Santa Ynez.
Sandoval, a former project manager at the Chumash Casino Resort, was not hurt in the wreck.
Her next court date is scheduled for Feb. 19.