A Merced County judge Friday refused to lower the bail for a teenager who authorities said was drunk last week when she live-streamed both herself driving and the aftermath of the crash that killed her sister.
Bail for 18-year-old Obdulia Sanchez will remain at $560,000 despite her defense attorney calling it excessive and her family saying they do not hold ill will against her. Her public Defender, Ramnik Samrao, requested that the judge lower it to $200,000.
Sanchez’s 14-year-old sister, Jacqueline, was thrown from her older sister’s 2003 white Buick Century and killed July 21 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 were captured on videos that since have gone viral and gained national attention.
“They want her to come home,” Samrao said. “They’re not mad at her. They don’t blame her.”
Appearing in Merced County court wearing yellow jail clothing and handcuffs, Obdulia Sanchez burst into tears when she looked at her family sitting in the room.
Sanchez recorded herself standing over her sister’s body while talking into the camera on her phone, authorities have reported.
I don’t know why or how, but it’s happened.
Nicandro Sanchez, father of Obdulia
“This is the last thing I wanted to happen, OK? ... Rest in peace, sweetie,” the teen says in the recording. “If you don’t survive, I’m so (expletive) sorry.”
California Highway Patrol investigators have said she had a blood alcohol content of .106 after the crash.
Sanchez is both a danger to society and a flight risk, according to Harold Nutt, Merced County chief deputy district attorney. Sanchez has been living in foster care in Tahoe, he noted.
“It’s only by the grace of God that she didn’t hit another car,” he said. “We’re just lucky that didn’t happen.”
Sanchez’s father, Nicandro Sanchez, asked the judge to lower the bail so his daughter could come home or return to foster care, he said through an interpreter. “I don’t have any resentment for what she did,” he said.
They want her to come home. They’re not mad at her. They don’t blame her.
Ramnik Samrao, public defender of Obdulia Sanchez, on her family’s request
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, her father said the family still is coming to terms with one daughter dead and another behind bars.
“I don’t know why or how, but it’s happened,” he said.
The Merced County District Attorney’s Office has charged Sanchez with six felonies, including gross vehicular manslaughter and drunken driving. Sanchez has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
If convicted, Sanchez could face more than 13 years in state prison.
This story will be updated.