A car collision has turned into an investigation for murder. One woman was charged with murder on Tuesday, July 17 for reckless driving that killed a male victim on Saturday, July 14. The car collision had occurred on Saturday afternoon in Sonoma County.
On a Saturday afternoon, 28-year old Heather Ann Howell had a dispute with her ex-boyfriend causing her to act out on her rage. When the fight heated up, her ex-boyfriend jumped on his motorcycle and fled the scene. Howell, still angry, got into her 2001 Acura and began pursuing her boyfriend. Her boyfriend, whose name is not being released since he might be a victim to domestic violence, tried to run away from Howell on his Harley Davidson motorcycle.
While speeding down the roadway on Hall Road, Howell struck a Lexus and then a 1969 Triumph Spitfire. The Triumph Spitfire was driven and occupied by Jesse Garcia, 56 years old. When the 2001 Acura struck Garcia’s vehicle, the Triumph overturned and then caught on fire. Garcia died on the scene.
California Highway Patrol officers responded immediately to the car collision and to put out the car fire. However, they then turned the investigation over to Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office since there was suspicion that the accident could have been a result of domestic violence. The incident is still under investigation.
When interviewed by investigators, Howell’s ex-boyfriend refused to be cooperative.
Steve Spiegelman, the attorney for Howell’s case argues that the trial should not be a murder case. He claims that it was an unfortunate and terrible accident but that Howell is saddened by the accident but did not mean any harm. He adds that no information has been given yet whether the accident was a high-speed chase.
After the accident on Saturday afternoon, Howell was held in Sonoma County Jail without any bail. The 28-year old suspect did not enter a plea to murder and negligent driving causing great bodily harm. On Friday morning, July 20, Howell will be in Sonoma County Superior Court where she will be given and arraigned a bail hearing.
Even though Howell was angry at her ex-boyfriend, it does not give her the right to be a careless driver out in the road. Chasing her boyfriend inside her Acura was unsafe and clearly caused other innocent drivers harm. As a result of her reckless driving, Howell has caused grief to Garcia’s family as they have to deal with this wrongful death. If she had caught up to her boyfriend in his motorcycle, she would have caused him great personal injury as well. There is no way of knowing how much more damage Howell could have caused when out angrily driving her Acura.