CHULA VISTA (CNS) — A driver who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol when she struck and killed a 15-year-old girl and her mother's boyfriend on a South Bay street pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that include gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
Tayishe Ann Baltys, 43, was heading west in the 3100 block of East Plaza Boulevard in National City shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday when her 2020 Toyota Prius struck the teenager and the 39-year-old man as they were walking home from a visit to a neighborhood market, according to police.
The girl died at the scene, Sgt. Kenneth Springer said. Paramedics took her mother's boyfriend to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Officials have not released the names of the victims, but family members have identified them as Brian McKee and Jessica Talamante.
"My daughter was so beautiful, she was a good soul. Brian he was there for us so much, he did everything for us, literally everything. And he was so good to my kids," said Kristen White, Talamante's mother and McKee's girlfriend. "Why drink and get in your car, take an Uber, a trolley, a bus, walk if you have to. I’m never going to be OK. I’m never going to be the same, that was my baby."
White said Talamante was the youngest of her five children and was getting ready to celebrate her 16th birthday in a couple of weeks.
Talamante's older sister Aliyah Arroyo was with McKee and Talamante at the time of the crash, her family said she ran home to tell White about the crash.
Deputy District Attorney Blair Pickus said in court Friday that upon seeing the defendant's vehicle barreling towards them, McKee unsuccessfully tried to push his Talamante out of the way. The impact threw both victims about 100 feet from the intersection, the prosecutor said.
Baltys, who appeared in court remotely from the Las Colinas jail, will be held without bail pending a July 7 bail review hearing.
According to Pickus, Baltys was previously charged with DUI for a Jan. 29, 2020, incident that also involved alcohol. She pleaded guilty to a lesser offense known as a "wet reckless" and was sentenced to one year of probation. Pickus said she completed probation about three weeks prior to the fatal crash.
In the current case, the prosecutor said a preliminary alcohol screening indicated she had a blood-alcohol-content of .16% after the crash, which is two times the legal driving limit in California.
"I would think that she would learn her lesson, but unfortunately the lady got in the car, and she only not killed one person, but she killed a little girl that had her whole life ahead of her," said David Talamante, the teen victim's father. "A girl that was a very sweet girl, a girl that nobody in this world could ever replace."
Jessica Talamante's family has started a Go Fund Me to help her mom pay for her funeral expenses. If you would like to help, click here.