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Nancy Grace

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Police: Alleged DUI driver in fatal crash had toddlers in car

  • Sacramento police allege driver Reena Sanchez, 24, was intoxicated at time of fatal crash
  • Collision occurred early Sunday, killed 30-year-old man
  • Police say Sanchez's two young children were in back seat
Reena Ashlie Sanchez is accused of driving while intoxicated, causing fatal crash with toddlers in car

Sacramento police say a driver involved in a crash that resulted in the death of a 30-year-old man was intoxicated, and they allege that she had her two young children in the car with her at the time of the collision.

Reena Ashlie Sanchez, 24, is being held on charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, child endangerment and DUI causing injury or death.

The crash occurred around 3:45 a.m. on Sunday near the 100 block of El Camino Avenue, according to a Sacramento Police Department press release.

Police believe Sanchez was driving at a high rate of speed when her sedan struck an SUV from behind. The SUV hit a tree and spun, causing two male passengers to be ejected from the rear.

One passenger, 30, was declared dead at the scene. The other ejected passenger and one who had been in the front seat were taken to a hospital for treatment. The driver of the SUV did not need medical attention, according to police.

The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office confirmed Tuesday that the deceased passenger was Demaris James Hiton Ingram of Sacramento.

According to police, Sanchez’s children--who are one and two years old--were in the sedan and secured in their car seats. Sanchez was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries and later booked into jail. The children were placed in protective custody.

“This is just tragic,” police spokeswoman Officer Michele Gigante told HLN Monday, adding that drunk driving accidents can be averted if people plan ahead when they are going to drink and take steps to avoid getting behind the wheel.

“There’s no rewind button on this,” Gigante said.

Sanchez remains in Sacramento County Jail with bail set at $250,000. According to a court spokeswoman, she did not enter a plea at her first court appearance Tuesday and she is scheduled to return to court on February 14.

Norm Dawson, a public defender representing Sanchez, declined to comment on the case Wednesday, saying he had just received the file and had not yet spoken to Sanchez. He planned to meet with her on Wednesday afternoon.

Sacramento police are urging anyone who witnessed the accident to contact Crime Alert at 916-443-HELP or text a tip to 274637 (enter SACTIP followed by the information).  

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