– A Hollister woman pleaded guilty Thursday to charges relating
to a drunken driving crash in January that killed her 4-year-old
Santa Cruz – A Hollister woman pleaded guilty Thursday to charges relating to a drunken driving crash in January that killed her 4-year-old daughter.
Antoinette Soliz, 26, pleaded guilty to nine felony charges in Santa Cruz County Superior Court – including vehicular manslaughter – and faces up to 37 years in state prison.
Soliz was drunk behind the wheel of a sport utility vehicle crowded with eight other people, including six children, when she crashed into a guardrail Jan. 29 on Highway 1 near Aptos, the California Highway Patrol reported. The 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe flipped many times and killed her daughter, Jasmine Arroyo. It also seriously injured two adults and five other children.
Ariadne Symons, chief deputy district attorney of Santa Cruz County, said she did not offer the mother a plea deal, but expects the sentence to be from 10 to 20 years.
Symons said the sentencing will be difficult.
“I’m pleased she’s admitted her responsibility, but everything about this case is an absolute tragedy,” Symons said.
Soliz’s attorney, Wesley Schroeder, said the evidence against her was strong enough to prove she was driving.
The loss of her daughter has been difficult, Schroeder said.
“She’s utterly devastated,” he said.
Schroeder added that being away from her two sons, also injured in the crash, will be hard.
“She can’t be a mom to her boys, at least not the way she wants to be,” Schroeder said.
Soliz’s plea ends a complex case that spanned three Central Coast counties.
In 2006, Soliz was arrested in Santa Clara County for driving under the influence.
When she crashed the SUV in January, Soliz was driving on a suspended license from that arrest, to which she also pleaded guilty Thursday morning.
Soliz’s blood-alcohol concentration was 0.22 percent – nearly three times the legal limit – after the crash, Grant Boles, according to the CHP. The legal BAC concentration in California is 0.08 percent.
The scene of the crash was littered with full and empty beer bottles, CHP officers reported.
On the day of the crash, Soliz was released on bail of $60,000. But a judge issued a $1 million arrest warrant when the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against Soliz on Jan. 31.
CHP officers came to Hollister that day to arrest Soliz but could not find her, declaring her on the lam.
On Feb. 1, Soliz, escorted by her bail bondsman, turned herself in to authorities at the Aptos office of the CHP.
Soliz will be sentenced Aug. 8 in Santa Cruz County Superior Court.