An accused drunk driver who allegedly killed a nurse and mother of a four-year-old in a wrong-way crash will stand trial on all charges, San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright announced.
Alexandria Bayne, 34, faces several charges, including one count of murder, one count of felony child endangerment, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury with an excess alcohol level of .15 of greater, driving the wrong way on the roadway, and one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while impaired. Bayne pleaded not guilty.
Prior to the crash, Bayne had allegedly been drinking all day and night before she got behind the wheel of her car with a blood-alcohol level more than four times the legal limit on Dec. 17 in San Diego's 4S Ranch neighborhood, according to the DA.
The crash left Sarita Shakya, 38, a nurse with Scripps Health, dead. At the time, Shakya was coming home from work. Neighbors told NBC 7 she took on the night shift so she could spend more time with her daughter.
She was pronounced dead 20 minutes after the crash, Bright said.
Friends say the mother was always devoted to helping people.
NBC 7 first met Shakya in May 2015 at Lindbergh Field where she handed out scarves signifying good luck to the Scripps Health Medical Response Team. The team had returned to San Diego after providing earthquake relief to victims in Nepal, Shakya's native country.
"She's constantly helping people and was being a good person," said neighbor Christina Macier. "Good soul, good aura. Just warm."
Shakya leaves behind her 4-year old daughter, her husband and extended family. In a statement, her family mourned the loss of their loved one.
"She was a beloved wife, mother, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister and sister-in-law to all of us. She was an inspiration to all who knew her. Her joy, beauty and enthusiasm for life were heart-warming. She will be greatly missed," the statement read.
At her arraignment earlier this year, Bayne looked straight ahead, motionless, as a Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright detailed the day and night preceding the deadly crash on Camino Del Norte.
“The defendant began drinking at home, went out for brunch with her children where she continued to drink champagne at lunch," Bright said. "She dropped her kids off at a friend’s house, had several drinks at the friend’s house.”
That evening, her daughter started making calls, asking where her mother was.
One of her friends told her not to worry - Bayne was at her house, drinking.
When Bayne got behind the wheel of her car to drive home, she had a blood-alcohol level of .35, more than four times the legal limit, Bright said. At the time of her arrest, approximately an hour after the crash, she had a BAC of 0.33.
Bright said Bayne has two previous DUIs: a 2005 charge in San Diego County and a 2008 charge in Los Angeles County. She went to her court-mandated classes because her driver's license was valid, Bright said.
Bright explained that when someone is convicted of DUI, they are ordered certain conditions of probation, one of which is that they complete the MADD impact panel.
"Depending on the level of alcohol someone has in their system, it can be a three month class up to an 18-month class," Bright said. "As part of that, they watch videos, one-on-one counseling. They have to go to self-help meetings and they have group therapy as well...They have to go through all that process to get their driver’s license back from the DMV."
Bail for Bayne was set at $3 million. If convicted, she faces 15 years to life, plus 10 years.
She will next appear in court on Aug. 9.