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Judge releases woman facing manslaughter charges

POSTED March 11, 2011 10:39 p.m.

Despite the objections of the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office and the victim’s family, a Patterson woman accused of a felony hit and run that caused the death of a 27-year-old man, was released on her own recognizance Wednesday.

Vanessa Carrillo, 21, of Patterson is facing charges of felony hit and run and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for the death of Patrick O’Connor on Sept. 1, 2010.

Carrillo was previously released on her own recognizance following her March 3 arraignment.

During Wednesday’s hearing Deputy District Attorney Anthony Colacito argued that a bail amount should be set for Carrillo, because the district attorney’s office believes she is a flight risk. Colacito pointed to her driving record, which includes two violations for speeding and a previous collision, in which she was found at fault.

Defense attorney Graylin Bryant argued that his client did not pose a flight risk given that she is holding down two jobs and is a senior at California State University, Stanislaus.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff ruled against the prosecution’s bail motion, citing no new circumstances that would require a bail to be set.

According to the California Highway Patrol’s report of the accident, Carrillo struck O’Connor from behind while he was riding his bike down a country stretch of Fulkerth Road. Carrillo briefly stopped, but then fled the accident scene. The sound of the crash alerted two witnesses who saw Carrillo’s vehicle leaving the scene.

About an hour after the accident Carrillo called 911 and said she had hit something while driving, possibly a dog.

As the investigation progressed, Carrillo admitted she had seen through her rear view mirror that it was a body in the road. She also stated to investigators that she had returned to the scene and saw all the emergency vehicles, which prompted her to return home and call 911.

Carrillo is scheduled for a pretrial hearing March 30.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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