SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A Rohnert Park woman charged with the drowning deaths of her daughters will be released Friday from the Sonoma County Jail so she can receive treatment for an aggressive cancer.
Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite approved the supervised release with several conditions of 27-year-old Alejandra Hernandez-Ruiz who is being held in the Sonoma County Jail under $500,000 bail.
Hernandez-Ruiz was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Impala on Petaluma Hill Road north of Petaluma on Aug. 31, 2016 when the vehicle went down an embankment and overturned in the Petaluma River. Her daughters Delilah and Sayra Gonzalez, ages 9 and 7, died in the submerged vehicle.
She has pled not guilty to two counts each of felony gross vehicular manslaughter and child endangerment and misdemeanor driving while unlicensed.
Deputy District Attorney Laura Passaglia said Ruiz-Hernandez had methamphetamine in her system at the time of the crash and she has a history or erratic driving.
Defense attorney Izaak Schwaiger said responders to the crash gave Hernandez-Ruiz “a full battery of field sobriety tests at the scene and Hernandez-Ruiz passed all of them.”
Tests by the Department of Justice showed some methampetamine and THC, the active ingredient of marijuana in Hernandez-Ruiz but not at a level considered impairment, Schwaiger said. Hernandez-Ruiz is not charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
As conditions of her supervised release, Hernandez-Ruiz must submit to drug and alcohol testing, cannot drive a vehicle even if her license is renewed, is confined to her home and must wear an electronic monitor.
Hernandez-Ruiz is being treated for cancer at the University of San Francisco Medical Center. Schwaiger said he is optimistic the case can be settled in the best interest of his client and the community.
On Oct. 27, Thistlethwaite will schedule a preliminary hearing or a disposition hearing date for the case.
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