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Charges Increased Against Driver in Death of Man During Police Pursuit

Dinara Arevalo Click to view larger
Dinara Arevalo

Additional charges have been filed against a Lompoc woman allegedly responsible for a collision near Refugio State Beach during a police pursuit earlier this month that claimed the life of a Santa Barbara man.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office announced Tuesday that it had filed an updated criminal complaint against Dinara Arevalo, 24, of Lompoc.

Arevelo was driving a white Toyota RAV4 on Oct. 1 when Lompoc police attempted to contact her, according to the California Highway Patrol

She fled south on Highway 1, and was pursued by Lompoc officers and Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies, the CHP said.

The CHP took over the chase once it reached Highway 101.

Arevalo was driving reckelessly, including at high speeds and on the right-hand shoulder, the CHP said, and collided with a black Toyota Tacoma pickup truck north of Refugio State Beach.

The pickup overturned and crashed off the right side of the roadway, near the railroad tracks, while the RAV4 rolled and came to rest in the center median.

The two occupants of the pickup — Michael D. Garcia, 58, and Brett J. Bronstad, 60, both of Santa Barbara — were seriously injured, and were transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, the CHP said.

Garcia, who had been in a coma and in critical condition following the collision, passed away late last week, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Bronstad reportedly was treated and subsequently released from the hospital.

The updated criminal complaint charges Arevalo with felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, and felony evading an officer causing death. In addition, special allegations of infliction of great bodily injury are alleged, regarding Bronstad's injuries.

Arevalo is scheduled to appear at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in Dept. 1 of the Lompoc Superior Court.

Arevalo remained in custody Tuesday at Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $150,000.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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