MADERA COUNTY — The Clovis woman accused of causing the death of Frederico Nunez Silva while driving intoxicated was arraigned today in Madera Superior Court. She pleaded not guilty to all three felony counts and one misdemeanor charge.
Candice Ooley, 23, was arrested on Friday, May 20, after she crashed into the back of a Hummer in which Silva, 47, was a passenger. Three others in the SUV were injured in the accident that happened just before 10 p.m. on Highway 41 near O’Neals.
Ooley was charged with vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence, and causing great bodily injury while operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. She was also charged with driving on a suspended license, following a DUI arrest in June 2015. A public defender was appointed to handle the case.
Ooley is reported to be six to eight months pregnant, and remains behind bars.
Mauricio Laurenco, 40, was the driver of the SUV and was airlifted with major injuries. Back seat passenger Louisa Pamplona, 48, suffered major injuries, and 40-year-old Juana Pineda’s injuries were classified as minor. All were from Lemoore and all were transported to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.
District Attorney David Linn asked the court to increase Ooley’s bail, and that request was granted, with the judge setting bail at $250,000, up from $100,000. Linn also wants to combine the previous DUI charge — for which Ooley failed to appear in court — with the current case. Her blood alcohol level was .32 at the time of her arrest, four times the legal limit.
Ooley was arrested for DUI in June of 2015 and was scheduled to appear in court on that charge on Wednesday, May 18, according to Linn. She failed to make that appearance, and just two days later was behind bars after allegedly causing the fatal crash on Highway 41.
Linn told ABC30 that Ooley is having some “significant problems controlling her drinking habits,” and thinks the reality of her situation is just now starting to sink in. He also says Ooley was in an argument with her boyfriend just before the crash and was on her way to Coarsegold to visit family, but fell asleep on the way and crashed into the Hummer.
Ooley could face 15 years in prison if convicted, and though Linn wanted to file murder charges due to her previous DUI charge, she was never convicted in that case, having not shown up for court last Wednesday. However he did say that his office will be researching the possibility of amending the complaint and charging murder.
“Specific requirements of knowledge on the part of the defendant are required to make this charge,” said Linn.
Linn also says he couldn’t file charges of child endangerment because California law does not provide him with that option.
A preliminary hearing has been set for June 3 in Dept. 23 of Madera Superior Court.