SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A family is searching for answers after a suspected DUI driver involved has yet to be charged following a deadly accident in Rio Linda on Monday.
The crash happened just after 8 p.m. near M Street and 4th Avenue in Rio Linda. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) said Ronny Ward III, 24, was driving when he suddenly veered to the right for an unknown reason and collided with a parked Chevy Impala, which was then pushed into 31-year-old Ciara Villegas. She was six months pregnant at the time. Her baby died a few days later after an emergency C-section.
There's been a lot of questions about why the driver has yet to be charged. ABC10 sat down with DUI defense attorney John Campanella to gain some perspective.
1. In typical DUI cases, are they charged immediately?
"It's not uncommon at all for an individual to give a blood sample, to show up in court, and on their first date of arraignment the court may announce that the DA hasn't filed charges on you because your case is still pending toxicology."
2. On average, how long does it take before the results are in?
"Right now, it's looking between 10-12 days on average to get a blood analysis done. Of course, it could be shorter, it could be longer. I personally had cases where it's been a month since the sample has been analyzed."
3. How does an injury or death affect the investigation?
"If someone is injured in the accident, the district attorney regularly wants to make contact with that victim and find out the extent of the injury. The DA does not want to make an offer to resolve a case where someone has been injured before they really understand the scope of those injuries."
4. What else could delay a DUI case?
They have a protocol at the lab. If you give a blood sample and it comes back below the legal limit, they will generally re-test that sample to see if there are drugs in there. So, they'll do a new analysis and that could delay the process even longer before you go to court."
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