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Woman pleads not guilty in deaths of 4 pedestrians in Escondido

Ashley Rene Williams
Posted at 11:38 AM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 19:54:53-04

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- An Escondido woman accused in a vehicle crash that killed four people, including two children, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to all charges levied against her.

Ashley Rene Williams pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder and four counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated during her initial court appearance, which was via video conference.

The 28-year-old’s bail was set at $1 million.

According to Escondido police, just before 8:30 p.m. on May 5, Williams was driving northbound near Oak Hill Drive and San Pasqual Valley Road when she struck two adults and two children walking in the area.

Abel Valdez, 33, and 11-year-old Emmanuel Riva died at the scene. Ten-year-old Yovanny Felix and 50-year-old Carmela Camacho were rushed to the hospital, where they later passed away.

The boys were brothers, and Camacho was their grandmother. Valdez was Camacho’s boyfriend, according to a GoFundMe established for the family.

Williams was taken to the hospital after also suffering injuries.

Following an investigation that involved the analysis of evidence that included cellphone and vehicle computer data, lab test results, and roadway measurements, Williams was arrested at her home on June 4.

Prosecutors said Williams was under the influence of drugs and using her cellphone at the time of the collision.

10News learned Williams’ driver’s license was already suspended as of Feb. 18, 2020, due to a drug-related offense. DMV records showed she was also involved in a non-alcohol related crash on Dec. 16, 2019.

San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Laurie Hauf said, “We believe she is a danger to the community, to the safety of the public, having been advised the last time that driving while intoxicated could kill somebody and she did it anyway.”

A readiness hearing for Williams is set for July 7, with a preliminary hearing scheduled in the case for Aug. 20.