Manslaughter, DUI Charges Dropped Against Woman in Fatal Coachella Crash

Manslaughter, DUI Charges Dropped Against Woman in Fatal Coachella Crash

News Staff

The district attorney’s office Monday confirmed the dismissal of vehicular manslaughter and DUI charges filed against an Indio resident following a crash that killed a young woman, as authorities continue investigating who may have been driving the involved car that veered off a roadway and overturned in the parking lot of a Coachella casino.

Alezia Carmona, 22, of El Centro, died at the scene of the June 2 crash, which occurred just after 6 a.m. when the Nissan Maxima she was riding in tumbled off the right shoulder of state Route 86 and into the parking lot of the Spotlight 29 Casino.

Annalee Montemayor, 22, of Indio, was identified by authorities shortly after the crash as the Maxima’s driver. She was hospitalized with major injuries and later arrested and charged with DUI, gross vehicular manslaughter and evading a peace officer causing injury or death.

Those charges were dismissed earlier this month, according to district attorney’s spokesman John Hall.

“During the continuing investigation into this case, our office obtained evidence that Ms. Montemayor may not have been the driver of the involved vehicle,” he said. “The investigation is ongoing and the case is still active.”

The District Attorney’s Office would not elaborate on the new evidence, but the California Highway Patrol initially stated that in addition to Carmona and Montemayor, at least one other person was in the car.

The CHP could not immediately be reached for comment on the dismissal of charges against Montemayor.

Montemayor was being held in a county jail on $1 million bail, but prosecutors moved to dismiss the charges against her on Sept. 7 and released her from custody.

CHP investigators have also said that the Maxima passed a white Pontiac Aztek just prior to the crash. After the Maxima ran off the roadway, surveillance footage shows that the Pontiac stopped “for a minimal amount of time” before proceeding “straight onto northbound state Route 86,” according to the CHP.

A photo of the witness’ vehicle, captured by a nearby surveillance camera, was released to the public in June.

Anyone with information regarding the crash was asked to contact CHP Officer Solis at (760) 772-5300.