A Merced County judge on Tuesday refused to change bail for the Stockton teen who live-streamed a fatal crash that killed her sister near Los Banos.
Merced County Judge Ronald Hansen on Tuesday also set a tentative trial date for 18-year-old Obdulia Sanchez, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, drunken driving and child endangerment. Her trial is set for Dec. 19, although attorneys said the trial likely will be delayed as investigators test Sanchez's blood for the presence of drugs at the time of the crash.
Sanchez was driving with her 14-year-old sister, Jacqueline Sanchez, and Jacqueline's girlfriend, 15-year-old Manuela Seja, on July 21 on Henry Miller Road north of Los Banos when her car veered left, overturning and crashing in a field south of the road, police said. The crash killed Jacqueline and Manuela suffered minor injuries.
A graphic Instagram video Sanchez took before, during and after the crash went viral. Authorities have said tests show Sanchez was intoxicated at the time of the crash.
Never miss a local story.
She remains in custody at the John Latoracca Correctional Center.
Attorneys on Tuesday argued over Sanchez’s bail with her defense attorney asking the judge to lower amount while prosecutors asked to increase it.
Hansen denied both requests, keeping bail at $470,000.
Sanchez's attorney, Merced County Public Defender Ramnik Samrao sought a reduction of bail Tuesday to $320,000 because he said the current bail was too high according to the Merced County Superior Court's felony bail schedule. But Hansen thought the bail amount was appropriate, Samrao said.
"I guess it was just a difference of opinion," Samrao said.
Samrao previously told the Sun-Star that Sanchez's family and friends may have had the ability to pool the funds to post Sanchez's bail if it was lowered to $320,000, but $470,000 was too high. Samrao said Tuesday that he and Sanchez are looking into other options to reduce her bail amount.
Deputy District Attorney Thomas Min asked Hansen Tuesday to increase Sanchez's bail back to her original bail amount of $560,000. A Merced County court commissioner reduced Sanchez's bail Oct. 4.
Min said prosecutors believe Sanchez is a danger to the community and a flight risk if she is released before trial.
However, Hansen didn't agree with those points, Samrao said.
Attorneys indicated that much of the case, at this point, centers around the blood sample investigators took from Sanchez the night of the deadly crash.
Prosecutors say both drugs and alcohol were detected in the blood, but a second test is needed to confirm the drug results.
"Most likely we will (hire our own expert)," Samrao said. "That's the most immediate issue."
Samrao said the blood test would most likely push the trial date back.