A feud between two women simmered on social media for months before erupting on Sunday when, witnesses say, Ashley Sanders intentionally drove over Tiarra Gallashaw at least twice, leaving her fatally injured on the edge of a Merced street, according to court records obtained by the Sun-Star.
During interviews with police, witnesses said Sanders expressed intent to hit Gallashaw, according to the records.
Sanders, 24, is charged with murder in Gallashaw’s death after she fatally struck the woman with her car following a physical fight.
Sanders was arraigned Friday in Merced County Superior Court, where she pleaded not guilty. She is due back in court for a preliminary hearing next month.
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Police who responded to the violence described a chaotic scene involving a crowd up to 100 people. Officers used pepper spray on some witnesses after being assaulted while trying to break up a separate, unrelated fight.
Witnesses told police the feud between Sanders, who lived in Firebaugh, and Gallashaw began on Facebook months ago. The records reviewed by the Sun-Star gave no indication of the reason for the feud.
On Sunday, Sanders posted on Facebook saying she was going to drive to Merced and beat up Gallashaw.
When she arrived, she circled the 100 block of West 19th Street in a red Dodge Avenger a few times before stopping and getting out of the car. One other person accompanied her in the car, reports show.
Sanders and Gallashaw fought in the street, and a crowd gathered that was large enough to block traffic. Witnesses said Sanders was injured during the fight and got up to return to her car.
While walking back to her car, witnesses asked her if she was OK. Sanders said she wasn’t OK. “Watch, watch,” Sanders said.
“I’m about to run that (girl) over,” Sanders said, according to multiple witnesses who spoke with police.
Sanders got in her car, drove down the street, and turned around, approaching the same area where the fight occurred. Sanders jumped the curb, driving onto the sidewalk before striking Gallashaw. Then, she backed up, running over Gallashaw again, witnesses said. It’s unclear in police reports whether Sanders ran over Gallashaw a third time before leaving the scene. She also hit at least two other cars.
She got out of her car briefly before being assaulted by onlookers. She then re-entered her car and drove away. She later was stopped by police.
However, Sanders told a different story in her interview with officers.
Sanders said she stopped at the intersection of 19th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way when a group of people, including Gallashaw, approached Sanders’ vehicle and began banging on it with various objects. They opened the driver-side door and dragged Sanders out. Sanders said she never fought with Gallashaw, and the group of people attacked her.
Sanders said in her interview she was just trying to get away when she ran over Gallashaw.
“They are not the victims,” Sanders said about the group of people who she said attacked her. “No, I did not intentionally hit this girl.”
Sanders remains in John Latorraca Correctional Center with bond set at $1 million bail.
Brianna Calix: 209-385-2477