Local News

Monday, May 12 2014 05:22 PM

Texting trial could finish as early as next week

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Anna Marie Reynosa turns to leave Kern County Superior Court after her June 11, 2012 arraignment on a vehicular manslaughter charge in the death of motorcyclist Charla Wilkins.

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

The trial of a Bakersfield woman accused of texting while driving in a fatal 2012 crash could wrap up as early as next week.

Jurors had been told to expect Anna Marie Reynosa's trial to last until June 13, but Judge John W. Lua said Monday it's ahead of schedule and could finish the week of May 19. The trial, marking the first time a Kern County motorist has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter in connection with texting while driving, began Friday.

Monday's proceedings ended at 2:30 p.m. following testimony from Bakersfield police Detective Kevin Fidler. The detective took measurements at the April 14, 2012 northwest Bakersfield crash that killed 20-year-old Charla Wilkins.

Fidler said a skid mark he measured began at the stop sign at Jewetta Avenue and Reina Road and continued northbound for 331 feet, through the intersection and well down Jewetta. Reynosa's pickup slammed into the back of Wilkins' motorcycle with enough force to pin the bike upright under the front of the truck as it was pushed forward.

The motorcycle's rear wheel left the skid mark. Police reports say crash analysis determined Reynosa's brakes weren't applied either before, during or after she hit the motorcycle.

Wilkins was thrown from the motorcycle into the truck's windshield and then onto the road, prosecutors have said. She suffered numerous internal injuries and broken bones, including a severed spine.

Prosecutor Esther Schlaerth has said Reynosa was speeding and texting when she ran the stop sign. Reynosa gave police different versions of her actions at the time of the crash.

Police had already cited Reynosa three times for speeding between Jan. 6 and April 9 of that year.

Deputy Public Defender Ernest Hinman said during Monday's opening statements that Schlaerth will be unable to prove Reynosa was speeding or texting at the time of the crash.

Reynosa faces up to six years in prison if convicted.

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