The Coast News Group
Herrera pleads not guilty.
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Herrera pleads not guilty in fatal DUI

VISTA — Isabella Herrera, who allegedly drove under the influence and fatally struck a man who was changing a tire on the side of a freeway in Vista pleaded not guilty today to charges that include gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Herrera, a 22-year-old Oceanside woman, is accused in the Feb. 26 crash that killed 63-year- old Oceanside resident Rafael Jurado Cardona.

According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, the victim pulled over onto the side of eastbound state Route 78, west of Emerald Drive, to change a flat tire. As he was standing near his vehicle just before 10:30 a.m., a Buick sedan swerved and struck the center divider near where Jurado Cardona was stopped, the M.E.’s Office said. The sedan, described by the California Highway Patrol as a Buick Verano allegedly driven by Herrera, also struck the victim and his vehicle.

Cardona was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the M.E.’s Office. Herrera was hospitalized for moderate injuries, the CHP said. Herrera is out of custody on $500,000 bail. She faces up to 10 years in state prison if convicted of all charges, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.