CLOVIS, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Manslaughter charges are being pressed against a Fresno woman because of the deadly crash outside Clovis, officials said.
According to authorities, 22-year-old Wallowa Bates ran a stop sign at International and Minnewawa Avenues, crashing into another car.
“Here it seems to be a pretty clear-cut case,” said Mark King, a Private Criminal Defense Attorney. “I think the DA’s office was pretty clear right away about what they wanted to do with this case.”
Officials stated that Bates crashed into another car colliding with 45-year-old Jennifer Ellis, who had an 8 and 10-year-old in the back seat, but Ellis did not survive.
“If you’re driving 60 or 70 or 80 mph in an area where the speed limit is 45 mph that would be considered gross negligence because that would be a significant deviation from what a reasonable person would do,” said King. “Many of us have blown through a stop sign and red lights before where our minds were on something else or maybe we looked at our phones for a moment… and if you were traveling at a normal speed when you did that, that wouldn’t be considered gross negligence.”
According to officials, Bates was driving significantly faster than the speed limit by the distance, the cars ended up in the field.
“Officers have experience and they can tell from the distance the vehicles were propelled off the roadway, the debris in the field, they can tell from the damages to the vehicles. They can guesstimate how fast that car was going,” King said.
King says that the maximum Bates could receive is 6 years in prison, and it would be unlikely to happen in this case because officers say no alcohol or drugs were involved.