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Santa Rosa woman charged with murder in fatal car accident

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Prosecutors are seeking second-degree murder charges against a 28-year-old Santa Rosa, California woman after she was allegedly involved in a fatal car accident in Sonoma County Saturday afternoon. Deputies claim that the woman was involved in some form of domestic dispute with her ex-boyfriend before the fatal crash. Authorities say that the ex-boyfriend had left on his motorcycle during an argument and the woman hopped in her Acura to chase after him.

Witnesses claim the Acura and motorcycle were speeding at 50 to 80 miles per hour on Hall Road, west of Santa Rosa. Authorities claim that the woman lost control of her Acura and struck a Lexus while chasing her ex-boyfriend. The Lexus then slammed into a Triumph sports car. The Triumph flipped over, trapping the driver inside. The sports car erupted into flames, killing the driver.

Originally, Sonoma County deputies arrested the woman on vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving charges. But prosecutors upped the ante this week, and filed second-degree murder charges against the woman, based upon the theory of implied malice. This blog has previously discussed implied malice in the context of so-called "Watson-murder" cases after an alleged fatal DUI car accident.

Prosecutors believe that the woman was chasing her ex-boyfriend in a domestic dispute situation, and authorities believe that the woman tried to hit her ex-boyfriend on his motorcycle at some point. Prosecutors apparently say that the woman should have known that her behavior before the accident could have resulted in someone's death.

The 28-year-old woman is scheduled for arraignment on Friday.

Source: Santa Rosa Press Democrat, "Santa Rosa woman charged with murder, reckless driving in fatal crash," Paul Payne, July 18, 2012

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