A 19-year-old Santa Maria man pleaded not guilty Monday to vehicular manslaughter and others charges related to the June death of an 18-year-old former star athlete.
Christian Iban Rodriguez Carbajal appeared in Santa Maria Court on Monday for arraignment, where he entered the plea to charges of vehicular manslaughter, DUI causing injury and reckless driving, according to his attorney, Michael Clayton.
Prosecutors allege that Carbajal was the cause of a June 18 five-vehicle accident at South Broadway and McCoy Lane that injured two people and killed Jade Marie Dodson, who had just graduated from Santa Maria High School and was a star member of the school’s tennis team.
Carbajal was allegedly driving under the influence when his Chevrolet pickup truck failed to stop for a red light while southbound on Broadway at McCoy Avenue, according to authorities.
Dodson, a passenger in a Toyota Camry, succumbed to major injuries and died at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
Carbajal sustained minor injuries and was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $1 million.
Three other vehicles sustained minor to major damage, but none of those drivers was hurt.
Police have said drugs are suspected to be a factor in the cause of the collision.
Carbajal is scheduled to be back in court Aug. 29 for a preliminary hearing setting, Clayton said.
“It’s just a terrible, horrific accident, and we’re very sorry for the families that lost loved ones,” Clayton said Monday. “He’s very sorry for his actions."