A California mother was arrested Friday, a year after her two young daughters were killed in a car accident while she was behind the wheel.
Alejandra Hernandez-Ruiz, 27, has been charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter, felony child endangerment and driving with a suspended license, according to The Press Democrat.
Brian Staebell, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, did not specify if there was a particular development that prompted prosecutors to press charges, saying only that it was the “the totality of her conduct while driving” that resulted in Hernandez-Ruiz’s arrest, over a year after the wreck.
Hernandez-Ruiz had just dropped off her daughters’ father at work shortly after after 8 a.m. on August 31, 2016, when she lost control of her car. She was reportedly on her way to drop the girls — Sayra, 7, and Delilah Gonzolez, 9 — at Waldo Rohnert Elementary School when her car, which was in the left lane, drifted into the median of the four-lane road she was driving on.
The mother over-corrected, and her car barreled across the road and down a steep 20-foot embankment. The vehicle hurtled through heavy brush and oak trees before flipping over into a narrow stretch of river. It sank into 6 feet of water and was submerged.
A witness who saw the car wreck ran down the embankment and found Hernandez-Ruiz was standing on top of the car, presumably trying to flag down help.
Police officers and firefighters arrived within minutes and rushed down the embankment to try to get the girls out. They were unable to reach the girls in time, who were still strapped in by their seat belts. The girls were both pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
At the time, Hernandez-Ruiz told California Highway Patrol officers that another car had cut her off while she was driving.
Investigators found no evidence of an additional car involved in the wreck, or child’s car seats in the vehicle. State law requires a booster seat for children until they reach age 8 or they reach a height of 4 feet 9 inches tall. It is unclear if Sayra would have needed one according to those requirements.
Hernandez-Ruiz is currently being held in the Sonoma County Jail on $500,000 bail. She will appear in court Tuesday to seek a bail reduction.
[Feature photo: Twitter]