VISTA, Calif. - A Menifee man accused of being under the influence of marijuana when he caused a head-on crash that killed a 53-year-old Oceanside woman two days before Christmas pleaded not guilty Monday to misdemeanor charges of vehicular manslaughter, driving on a suspended license and possession of marijuana.
Jonathon David Roberts, 22, remains free on $100,000 bail. He was ordered not to drive while the case was pending.
Roberts was in a 1997 Dodge Ram pickup headed west on state Route 76 when he drifted into the path of eastbound traffic near Via Monserate in Bonsall around 3:20 p.m. Dec. 23, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Jim Bettencourt.
According to the CHP, the defendant's pickup crashed head on into a 2010 Honda Fit being driven by a 53-year-old Oceanside woman, identified as Socorro Aguirre-Reynosa.
Aguirre-Reynosa died at the scene, and three passengers in the vehicle she was driving – a man, a 13-year-old boy and a 30-year-old woman – suffered minor to moderate injuries.
The Medical Examiner's Office identified the passengers as Aguirre-Reynosa's husband, daughter and grandson. All three were taken to Palomar Medical Center.
A 2004 BMW 328i heading east directly behind the Honda Fit also was involved in the accident, going down an embankment, leaving the Carlsbad woman behind the wheel with moderate injuries, Bettencourt said.
The woman was taken to Palomar Medical Center, along with Roberts, who suffered minor injuries.
"A large amount of marijuana was found inside Mr. Roberts vehicle, and it is believed that during the time of the collision, he was driving under the influence (of drugs)," Bettencourt said. "Chemical test results are pending."
A witness said that in the moments leading up to the crash, Roberts was crossing over a double-yellow line and swerving "all over the road," according to Bettencourt.
A judge ordered Roberts to return to court Jan. 17 for a readiness conference and Feb. 11 for trial.
The defendant faces up to a year in jail if convicted, authorities said.