A motorist accused of driving onto a sidewalk in Tierrasanta and running down two young girls, leaving one brain dead and on life-support, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run with injury.
Julianne Little, 30, was ordered held on $1 million bail.
Deputy District Attorney Marissa Bejarano told Judge Jay Bloom that the defendant drove through the bicycle lane and onto the sidewalk, hitting the girls as they walked northbound on Santo Road toward a McDonald's restaurant, shortly after getting off work at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
The 12-year-old, named Mekayla, suffered a concussion and a broken ankle and was thrown into shrubbery, but 10-year-old Raquel LeeAnn Rosete landed on the hood of Little's car and was carried for 60 feet before being thrown off the car and into a bush, Bejarano said.
The 10-year-old went into cardiac arrest and suffered a traumatic brain injury. She was declared brain-dead and placed on life support on Tuesday, the prosecutor said.
Bejarano alleged Little fled the scene and drove home, telling her father that she didn't know what she hit and telling her mother she thought she hit a brick wall.
The defendant later told officers that she knew she hit two people, according to the prosecutor.
Defense attorney Anthony Solare said Little voluntarily returned to the scene following the accident.
He said his client hadn't been getting much sleep in the days leading up to the accident because a person she had a restraining order against had recently come back into her life.
"She is truly devastated by this," Solare said.
Bejarano said Little's blood was drawn after the crash, and more charges are possible if the results show that she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Little faces 11 years and eight months in prison if convicted as charged, the prosecutor said.
Rosete's older sister told reporters that she was happy that her sibling was at peace, and that she has forgiven the defendant for her actions.
"Everyone makes mistakes," Jessica Rosete said outside court.
Little will be back in court March 3 for a readiness conference and March 8 for a preliminary hearing.