A woman accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that killed a 25-year-old man in Santee pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.
National City resident April Thompson, 23, is being charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence in connection to a fatal collision that happened early Saturday morning on eastbound State Route 52 near the Mast Boulevard exit.
At around 1 a.m., Clairemont resident Jayme Midlam was driving alone in his 1972 Volkswagen Beetle on eastbound SR-52, approaching the Mast Boulevard overcrossing.
At the same time, Thompson was driving her Chevy 2500 pickup truck the wrong way, westbound in the eastbound lanes of the freeway.
Her truck collided head-on with Midlam’s Beetle, totaling the much smaller vehicle. Midlam was pronounced dead at the scene. Thompson sustained moderate injuries.
CHP officials suspected Thompson of driving under the influence at the time of the deadly crash.
After being treated for her injuries at a hospital, she was booked into Las Colinas Detention Facility.
On Thursday in court, prosecutors said Thompson had a blood-alcohol level that was double the legal limit when she drove the wrong way on SR-52 over the New Year holiday weekend.
She now faces up to 10 years in prison if she’s convicted, and is being held on $250,000 bail.
Thompson’s mother, Janet Cowan, accompanied her daughter in court Thursday and expressed her condolences to Midlam’s family.
“We're just feeling devastated for the young man's family, and especially his mother,” Cowan told NBC 7. “April has conveyed to me her feelings of being so grief-stricken because of what’s happened and what she’s done. She feels horrible about it.”