Possible manslaughter charges for teen driver | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Possible manslaughter charges for teen driver

Rob Bhatt

South Lake Tahoe police will recommend manslaughter charges against the teen-age driver who ran over a woman with her van in a fatal accident Monday evening.

The victim, Wanda L. Oliver, 49, of South Lake Tahoe, was crossing U.S. Highway 50 southbound at Wildwood Avenue at 7:43 p.m.

The oncoming van, driven by a 16-year-old girl from El Dorado Hills, made a left turn, striking the woman before pulling the victim under the vehicle.

The driver, whose name was withheld because she is a juvenile facing possible criminal charges, said direct sunlight into her eyes prevented her from seeing the pedestrian until after the accident.

By then, the van had dragged the victim’s body about 35 feet, South Lake Tahoe police reported.

A patrol officer who drove to the accident seconds after it happened confirmed that the sun would have been shining directly into the driver’s eyes.

“You still have to drive with due caution for the prevailing conditions,” said Police Detective Scott Willson, who is investigating the accident.

Based on accident reports, Willson intends to recommend that prosecutors charge the driver with vehicular manslaughter, driving too fast for conditions and failure to yield the right of way.

Vehicular manslaughter is generally a misdemeanor unless drugs, alcohol or gross negligence are involved.

Investigators do not believe any were a factor in Monday’s accident.

The initial cause of death is blunt-force trauma.

Oliver is survived by a 16-year-old son whose father died two years ago.

The driver of the van and her male passenger were questioned by police at the scene and released.

Formal charges against the driver are pending review of accident reports by Juvenile Probation and the El Dorado County District Attorney’s office.

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