South Lake Tahoe woman charged with gross vehicular manslaughter
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — South Lake Tahoe Police Department arrested Olga Nayeli Peña Arce, 21, Wednesday in connection with a suspected DUI car crash that caused the death of Aimee Campos, 20, in November.
Peña Arce was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI, according to an SLTPD press release. The arrest came after an SLTPD investigation found that Peña Arce was driving with a blood alcohol level higher than 0.08 percent and in excess of 77 mph in a 35 mph zone in the area of Pioneer Trail and Edna Street.
On Thursday, SLTPD Lt. Brian Williams said investigators were not able to determine the exact alcohol level in Peña Arce’s blood because a test was not done immediately after the crash, but using different formulas they were able to determine that her blood alcohol level was “well above 0.08 percent.”
The investigation also encountered some time-consuming aspects while trying to determine specific facts in the crash, such as the speed Peña Arce was traveling and its effects in the conditions when the crash occurred, Williams said. The complexity of the crash and the different points of impact also made the investigation more challenging. Based on that information and the facts, the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office chose to file the charges it filed. Additionally, investigators also used outside resources to conduct the investigation.
The wreck occurred on Nov. 24 at about 4:30 a.m. Peña Arce had two passengers in her vehicle, Campos and 25-year-old Wayne Walker, as she sped westbound on Pioneer Trail.
According to the press release, Peña Arce lost control of her vehicle in the typically dark and curvy part of the road. The vehicle began to rotate counter-clockwise and entered into a broadside skid as it slid westbound on Pioneer Trail. As the Saturn continued to slide, it crossed over into the eastbound lane of Pioneer Trail. The front of end of the car then left the southern roadway edge of Pioneer Trail and traveled across an area of large rocks at the intersection of Edna Street. As it did, the tire and rim of sedan became dislodged and the car struck a stop sign and bike route sign, dislodging them from the ground.
As the Saturn continued to slide, it crossed over Edna Street and its right side struck a large, wood retaining wall on the west shoulder of Edna Street. The impact caused major damage to the right side of the car, where Campos had been seat-belted into her passenger seat. Campos died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash.
The impact caused an imprint of the right rear wheel and lug nuts on the retaining wall. The vehicle then bounced off the retaining wall and rotated clockwise until it came to rest. Walker was ejected from the vehicle upon impact and was discovered lying in the roadway on Edna Street. He was hospitalized and survived. Peña Arce also sustained significant injuries in the crash and was hospitalized until she recovered enough to be released.
Police officers arrested Peña Arce at about 5 p.m. on Wednesday at her residence without incident. She is currently being held at the El Dorado County Jail with a $250,000 bail.
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