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Woman Stands Trial for Felony Gross Vehicular Manslaughter

A judge ruled this week that a San Diego County woman must stand trial on a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter, stemming from a head-on car crash that killed a U.S. Forest Service firefighter.

22-year-old Natashia Wood  is accused of causing the deadly accident on a curvy part of Buckman Springs Road October 3rd around 6:15 p.m. Officials say Wood was driving her roommate’s Dodge Durango SUV southbound on the two-lane road when she drifted onto the shoulder and then over-corrected left putting her in the path of the oncoming firefighter’s motorcycle.

The victim, 37-year-old Darin Steffey, was riding his Yamaha 600 motorcycle and was pronounced dead at the scene due to multiple blunt force injuries. California Highway Patrol Officer Benjamin Montgomery testified at Wood’s preliminary hearing Friday that evidence showed the motorcycle went underneath Wood’s SUV while the victim flew forward into the hood and windshield.

If convicted of the felony charge, Wood faces a maximum of six years in prison. Edward Phillips, an accident reconstruction specialist for San Diego County, testified that an Event Data Recorder recovered from the SUV indicated Wood traveling at a speed of 73 mph five seconds before the crash and applying the brakes only half a second before the collision. The speed limit of Buckman Springs Road is 55 mph, and the area in which the crash occurred has signs posted for drivers to slow down to 40 mph due to road curves.

If you or a loved one has suffered in a collision due to another driver’s negligence, you must act and utilize your rights for full compensation. With the aid of a good car accident attorney working on your behalf, camages and medical costs can be recouped from the party at fault. If you’re in the San Diego area, contact Steven Elia for an immediate consultation after your collision.  No one should be penalized for an accident that was caused by the negligence of another driver. Steven will work with you to ensure that your case is handled properly and with the utmost care.

Steven Elia

Steven Elia

Mr. Elia has extensive litigation experience having appeared at more than 1,000 civil hearings including jury and bench trials, over 500 depositions, and hundreds of mediations. Some of his cases have made national headlines. He specializes in personal injury, business law and civil litigation in and around San Diego.