DUI Suspect in Fatal Crash Released from Custody

Soranon Booppanon, 39, is accused of driving under the influence of prescription medications during an Oct. 23 crash that killed a 77-year-old man

A woman accused of driving under the influence of prescription medication during a deadly crash was released from custody Thursday, despite objections from the San Diego District Attorney’s office.

Soranon Booppanon, 39, was arrested for felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter on Oct. 23 following a collision in University City, near the UTC mall in La Jolla, which left a 77-year-old man dead.

The accident happened around 10:30 a.m. and involved four vehicles.

According to police, two vehicles – a Volkswagen Golf and an Audi – were turning onto La Jolla Village Drive from southbound Genesee Avenue when Booppanon, driving her Prius, ran a red light and hit both cars. She then ran into a Nissan truck.

The driver of the Golf, Pacific Beach resident George Matteson, 77, died from injuries sustained in the collision. His wife and passenger, Betty Matteson, 74, was seriously injured but survived the crash.

Booppanon and the driver of the Audi sustained minor injuries, while the Nissan driver was unharmed.

The San Diego District Attorney’s office confirmed Thursday that Booppanon had been released from custody, despite objections from prosecutors, so she could receive treatment for health issues.

In court, a defense attorney told the judge that Booppanon is suffering from medical problems stemming from injuries that she received while serving in the Air Force, as well as a viral infection.

The attorney said Booppanon, who spent 13 years in the Air Force, was on her way to the VA when the fatal crash occurred in University City.

A prosecutor argued that Booppanon was on strong prescription medications at the time of the collision and should not have been behind the wheel in the first place.

If convicted, Booppanon faces a maximum of 15 years in prison. She’s scheduled to appear in court again Nov. 5 and Nov. 7.

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