Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
September 15, 2009
Susan Kang Schroeder
75-YEAR-OLD WOMAN FACES TRIAL FOR KILLING 89-YEAR-OLD PEDESTRIAN IN CHURCH PARKING LOT BY RUNNING OVER VICTIM AND CRUSHING HER HEAD
*Defendant also charged with fleeing the scene and lying to police; victim’s DNA linked to defendant’s car
SANTA ANA – A 75-year-old woman faces trial tomorrow for running over and killing an 89-year-old pedestrian in a church parking lot, crushing the victim’s head. Ana Maria Torres, Fullerton, is charged with one felony count of hit and run causing death, and one misdemeanor count each of vehicular manslaughter by unlawful act with gross negligence and providing false information to a police officer. She faces a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury. If convicted on all counts, Torres faces a maximum sentence of nine years in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-28, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
At approximately 9:15 a.m. on Aug. 26, 2007, Torres is accused of attempting to leave St. Joseph’s Church in Placentia in her white Mercury sedan. As she approached the driveway to exit the church parking lot, Torres is accused of failing to look for pedestrians before driving into the street and running over 89-year-old Jessie Pound, who was walking on the sidewalk. The defendant is accused of running over and crushing the victim’s head and body as Pound screamed from under the car. Torres is accused of failing to stop, turning onto the street, and accelerating away as she fled the scene.
When investigators from the Placentia Police Department interviewed Torres, she is accused of falsely telling officers that she had attended an earlier mass that day and had walked home. Torres is accused of having the victim’s DNA on the underside of her car.
Pound was transported to Placentia-Linda Community Hospital, where she died 30 minutes later after the crushing blunt force trauma to her head and torso resulted in acute brain and lung injuries.
Deputy District Attorney Jason Baez of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.