Obdulia Sanchez, the 18-year-old Stockton woman accused of live-streaming a crash that killed her younger sister, spit at law enforcement at the scene of the crash and kicked an emergency responder in the face, according to reports from investigators obtained by the Merced Sun-Star.
Sanchez’s 14-year-old sister, Jacqueline, was thrown from her older sister’s 2003 white Buick Century and killed Friday in a rollover crash on Henry Miller Road on the outskirts of Los Banos. Obdulia Sanchez, whose family calls her “Lulu,” was live-streaming on Instagram while driving and the crash and immediate aftermath was captured on videos that since have gone viral and gained national attention.
Sanchez recorded herself standing over her sister’s body while talking into the camera on her phone.
“This is the last thing I wanted to happen, OK? ... Rest in peace, sweetie,” the teen says. “If you don't survive, I’m so (expletive) sorry.”
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Chief Deputy District Attorney Harold Nutt described Sanchez’s behavior during and after the crash as “disturbing” and “shocking.”
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and that depravity and callousness and stupidity is no surprise at all,” he said.
Reports filed Wednesday by California Highway Patrol investigators describe Sanchez as “belligerent” and said she repeatedly spit at officers, used racial slurs and kicked one emergency responder from Riggs Ambulance in the face.
The Stockton teenager made her first appearance in Merced County Superior Court in Los Banos on Wednesday via video monitor from the John Latorraca Correctional Facility, just outside Merced, where she’s been in custody since the deadly crash. Sanchez appeared in yellow jail clothes and told Judge David W. Moranda she understood the charges filed against her “a little bit.”
The Merced County District Attorney’s Office charged Sanchez with six felonies, including gross vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving. Speaking through her court-appointed attorney, Ramnik Samrao, Sanchez pleaded not guilty to all charges.
If convicted, Sanchez could face more than 13 years in state prison.
According to reports from officers, Sanchez quickly called 911 after the crash on Friday.
“Can you come pick up my sister, she is (expletive) dead,” Sanchez is quoted in the reports. “Man, I just crashed and I was DUI. Can you please come pick us up?”
The reports say Sanchez complained of chest pain at the scene of the crash and was taken to the hospital in Los Banos. At the hospital, investigators said, she began talking with officers about Proposition 57 and how it could “cut her (jail) time in half.”
Prop. 57, passed by California voters last year, increases parole chances for felons convicted of nonviolent crimes. It also gives them more opportunities to earn credits for good behavior.
Sanchez also refused a Breathalyser test at the scene. CHP investigators obtained a warrant for a blood test, which they said revealed a .106 blood alcohol content about 90 minutes after the crash.
Another 14-year-old passenger, identified as Fresno resident Manuela Ceja, suffered major lacerations to her left leg. Sanchez told investigators she and her sister had traveled to Fresno to pick up Ceja and were on their way back to Stockton when they crashed.
Ceja told investigators she thought Sanchez may have been in shock when she started recording after the crash, the reports say.
Sanchez’s attorney acknowledged the viral video from the crash scene looks bad but said the recording doesn’t tell the whole story. The defense attorney said his client’s history, which he said includes being the victim of sex trafficking, could become part of the case.
“People are involved in tragic car accidents every day where someone dies. Not every time is there a crime committed,” he said. “It’s important for people not to rush to judge her. Everyone has only seen a few minutes of her life on an Instagram video. They know nothing about her history, or her history in the foster care system, or that she was a victim of sex trafficking.”
Samrao declined to say more about Sanchez’s history. He said it’s possible it could become part of the case.
That history also includes a prior conviction for reckless driving when she was 14 years old, according to records from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Sanchez’s current license was issued in April and was valid the day of the crash, according to records.
Her defense attorney has requested all the information on the case, including medical records and the 911 call made by Sanchez.
The primary focus of the case is that Sanchez was driving while drunk, prosecutors said, but he said the cellphone video will help his office with the case.
“Over the years I’ve seen case after case after case of horrific deaths and injuries as a result of intoxicated driving,” Nutt said. “And I keep thinking, surely at some point, the public is going to get the message. But, it continues to happen. We’ve now added the additional complication of cellphones and the options available with those. It creates added dimensions to the whole problem of driving under the influence and distracted driving.”
Sanchez remains in custody at the John Latorraca Correctional Center on $560,000 bond, according to jail records. She is set to appear in court again Friday where her attorney plans to ask the judge to lower Sanchez’s bail. A preliminary hearing for the case was set for Aug. 9.