(CNS) – A 59-year-old man accused of driving under the influence and hitting a 57-year-old woman in Palm Springs pleaded not guilty to felony charges Friday.
Mark Gerald Blanchette of Palm Springs was charged with one felony count each of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury and of driving under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of .08% or more causing bodily injury, according to court records. He additionally faces sentence enhancing allegations of inflicting injury that caused the victim to become comatose.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges Friday afternoon at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.
Shortly before 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, officers responded to the intersection of Tahquitz Canyon and Sunrise Way to a report of a traffic collision involving a vehicle and a pedestrian, according to the Palm Springs Police Department.
Police said that when officers arrived, they found an unresponsive woman, identified in court documents only as “Lorna L.” in the roadway who was subsequently taken to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries. She remained at the hospital in critical condition on Thursday.
Blanchette, the driver of the vehicle, “was contacted at the scene and displayed objective symptoms of being under the influence,” police alleged.
He was booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, where he remained held on $50,000 bail.
The collision was under investigation and anyone with information was asked to call the police department’s traffic division at 760-323-8125 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 760-347-7867 (STOP).
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