The trial date was pushed back Thursday for a teen driver charged with drunken driving in a deadly crash in Merced County that went viral after she livestreamed the crash’s aftermath.
Obdulia Sanchez has been ordered to stand trial on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter, child endangerment and DUI charges stemming from a July 21 crash that killed her 14-year-old sister, Jacqueline Sanchez, and injured Jacqueline's 15-year-old girlfriend, Manuela Seja, on Henry Miller Road north of Los Banos.
The 19-year-old Stockton woman has pleaded not guilty.
Sanchez’s attorney on Thursday continued to push for an independent analysis of the blood evidence in the case. He has criticized how the evidence was handled in the hours after the crash.
Never miss a local story.
The deadly collision gained national attention when a series of Instagram videos Sanchez took before, during and after the crash went viral on social media.
Merced Superior Court Judge Ronald W. Hansen said the defense may not be ready for a previously scheduled trial date of Dec. 19 after arrangements were finalized Thursday to hand over a portion of Obdulia Sanchez's blood sample for an independent test.
Initial test results indicate Sanchez, 19, had a blood alcohol content of .106 about 90 minutes after the crash, above the legal limit of .08, according to police reports.
Sanchez's attorney, Merced County Deputy Public Defender Ramnik Samrao, has maintained there is a chance Sanchez's blood-work was mixed up with someone else's and also has argued the blood evidence may have been tainted.
During preliminary hearings, Samrao questioned the chain of custody of the blood sample and how it was handled. He also questioned whether officers and witnesses at the scene felt Sanchez was intoxicated moments after the crash.
"Just one witness had any inclination (Sanchez) was under the influence," Samrao said. "Others didn't indicate they noticed signs she was intoxicated."
Police reports, however, indicate Sanchez told 911 operators that her sister was dead and that “I just crashed and I was DUI. Can you please come pick us up?”
On Samrao's insistence, part of the blood sample will be retested by an independent firm, Sacramento-based Drug Detection Laboratories. Samrao also said he was encouraged that the Merced County District Attorney's Office is running tests to determine if the sample was Sanchez's blood and clear up any doubts.
The date of the trial wasn't set Thursday. She will be back in court for further proceedings on Dec. 19.