Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
DRIVER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR KILLING
8-YEAR-OLD BOY ON BIKE BY CRASHING INTO VICTIM WHILE DISTRACTED
WESTMINSTER – A distracted driver will be arraigned Monday for killing an 8-year-old boy by crashing into the victim as he was riding his bike to school. Anita Sue Cherry, 48, Westminster, is charged with one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence and faces a maximum sentence of one year in jail if convicted. The People will be requesting Cherry be held on $15,000 bail at her arraignment Monday, March 21, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. in Department W-1, West Justice Center, Westminster.
At approximately 8:00 a.m. on Jan. 19, 2011, Cherry is accused of driving southbound on Shawnee Road in Westminster in a Ford sport utility vehicle. The defendant is accused of briefly looking down as she drove through the intersection at Iroquois Road and crashing into 8-year-old Andrew James Brumback, also known as A.J., who was wearing a helmet and riding his bike to school.
Brumback was thrown from his bike. Cherry is accused of remaining at the scene and waiting for police to arrive. When officers from the Westminster Police Department (WPD) arrived, Brumback’s bike was still underneath the front of Cherry’s vehicle.
Brumback was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead due to multiple blunt traumatic injuries.
The law describing the distinction between misdemeanor and felony manslaughter:
Misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter may be charged when there is “ordinary negligence” or the failure to use reasonable care to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to one’s self or another. A person is negligent if he or she does or fails to do something that a reasonable, careful person would not do in the same situation.
Felony vehicular manslaughter may be charged when there is “gross negligence” which involves more than ordinary carelessness, inattention, or mistake in judgment. Gross negligence would require a person to act in a reckless way that creates a high risk of death or great bodily injury, and a reasonable person would have known that acting in that way would create such a risk. The person’s action must be so different from how an ordinary careful person would act in the same situation that his or her act amounts to disregard for human life or indifference to the consequences of the act.
WPD investigated this case. Deputy District Attorney Michael Bardeen is prosecuting this case.