Local News

Tuesday, Mar 08 2011 12:34 AM

Teen killed in crash as a result of high-speed chase, CHP says

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Juan Sandoval during his arraignment, Tuesday afternoon in a downtown Bakersfield courtroom.

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BY JASON KOTOWSKI, Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

A 17-year-old girl who died in a crash early Saturday morning had been pursued by -- and collided with -- a pickup driven by a man at whose house she had been drinking and whose pickup she had stolen, according to authorities.

The man, 30-year-old Juan Angel Cardona Sandoval, left the scene of the crash and reported the pickup stolen, but not his role in what happened, California Highway Patrol Officer Patrick Etchebarne said Tuesday.

Sandoval was charged with four crimes Tuesday, including gross vehicular manslaughter. He pleaded not guilty.

The events leading to the death of Monica Rubino were explained Tuesday by Etchebarne.

Rubino and two other 17-year-olds, Cynthia Alvarez and Maricela Cibrian, and 18-year-old Esmeralda Trujillo went to Sandoval's home near Wheeler Ridge Road Friday. It's believed that Sandoval is the godfather of Trujillo's nephew and is a family friend, Etchebarne said.

At least the three 17-year-olds drank alcohol while at Sandoval's house, according to Etchebarne. Sandoval fell asleep sometime between 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Early Saturday, while Sandoval was still sleeping, the 17-year-olds took Sandoval's Lincoln pickup, Etchebarne said. Rubino was driving and there are indications she was intoxicated.

Sandoval woke up when he heard the pickup start, ran outside, got into a Ford pickup and chased the teens, trying to get them to pull over, Etchebarne said. The chase reached speeds of 85 to 90 mph.

The pickup Rubino was driving was partially in the northbound and southbound lanes of Wheeler Ridge Road when Sandoval unsafely tried to pass her, according to Etchebarne. The right rear of Sandoval's pickup struck the left front of the Lincoln pickup.

Rubino braked and steered to the right after the collision, sending the Lincoln off the roadway and into a dirt berm, Etchebarne said. The pickup flipped several times.

Rubino died at the scene, one of the passengers suffered a broken femur and the other teen suffered minor to major injuries in the 2:51 a.m. crash, Etchebarne said.

Sandoval returned home and reported his pickup stolen, never telling officers that he was involved in the collision, Etchebarne said. Further investigation revealed his role in the crash.

In addition to gross vehicular manslaughter, Sandoval pleaded not guilty to hit and run causing death or permanent serious injury, making a false report and driving on a suspended license, according to the Kern County Superior Court website. He is being held on $114,000 bail.

Sandoval pleaded no contest to DUI in 2009, the website said.

Kern High School District spokesman John Teves said Rubino had not attended school in the district for more than a year. She had been in and out of more than one school, he said.

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