Driver ordered to stand trial in fatal crash

Posted at 5:06 PM, Jul 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-13 22:52:32-04

A motorist accused of driving onto a sidewalk in Tierrasanta and striking two young girls, killing one and seriously injuring the other, was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run with injury.

Julianne Little, 30, faces up to 11 years and eight months in state prison if convicted.

Witness Brian Shipman testified that he was driving north on Santo Road near Shields Street about 6 p.m. last Feb. 20 when he saw bobbing lights in his rear-view mirror and a car re-entering the roadway from the sidewalk.

"I knew something was not right," Shipman testified.

Shipman said the car in question -- driven by Little -- passed him, and he quickly turned around and went back to where he saw the Toyota Corolla re-entering the road.

When he got to the scene, Shipman said he saw a woman kneeling down and talking to a 12-year-old girl named Mekayla, who suffered a concussion and a broken ankle.

A family in another car stopped 25 yards down the road to render aid to 10-year-old Raquel LeeAnn Rosete, who suffered a traumatic brain injury. She was placed on life support and died three days later.

San Diego police Officer Donald Albright testified that Little hit the curb, came up on the sidewalk and struck both girls, who were walking to a nearby McDonald's.

Officer Robert Raynor said Little's father came up to him as he blocked traffic on Santa Road, saying his daughter had fallen asleep and was involved in a collision.

A few minutes later, Little's father returned with the defendant, Raynor said.

Officer Fred Thornton Jr. testified that he went to Little's home nearby and noticed front-end damage to the Toyota Corolla, which was parked in the driveway, and clothing or skin on the car.     

Officer Jason Costanza said he looked at Little's phone and discovered that she had been on the phone with her mother for eight minutes a short time before the collision.     

Little had also sent a text message that read, "I'm going to miss you my friend" to a person named Rodney a few minutes before the collision, Costanza testified.

San Diego police Officer Michael Groff testified that there were no mechanical problems with Little's car that could have caused the collision.

Judge Jay Bloom ruled that enough evidence was presented at the preliminary hearing for Little to proceed to trial.

He set an Oct. 19 trial date and Sept. 1 readiness conference.