CHP: Los Banos teen arrested in fatal DUI crash
A Los Banos teenager was jailed Wednesday after investigators said she was swerving her vehicle “on purpose” while high on marijuana when the car overturned and her passenger was ejected and killed.
The victim, Brannae Martin, 21, of Dos Palos, was ejected from a 1996 Geo Tracker and died. The driver, 19-year-old Olivia J. Hawkins-Kepney of Los Banos, was arrested, Officer Lance Velez said.
Olivia J. Hawkins-Kepney Merced County Sheriff’s Office
The crash was reported around 3:45 p.m. on Highway 165, south of the San Joaquin River.
Investigators said Hawkins-Kepney was driving south on the highway at around 55 mph when she started “swerving from side to the side of the road on purpose and lost control of the vehicle.”
“The vehicle went off the west side of the roadway and overturned, causing the ejection,” Velez said. “The victim was not wearing a seat belt.”
Officers found a suspected marijuana pipe inside the vehicle, Velez said. A sample of the driver’s blood was sent to the Department of Justice for analysis, he said, adding it could be several months before results are available.
Another passenger in the vehicle, Sharae Davis, 23, of Oakland, was not injured, officers said.
Hawkins-Kepney was treated for minor injuries and booked at Merced CountyjJail on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of drugs causing injury, both felonies, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor, according to booking records.
She remained in custody Thursday with bail set at more than $300,000.