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Investigators Return to the Scene of Hit-and-Run Death of Mallory Dies

Santa Barbara police focus on the 500 block of Anacapa Street in reconstructing the collision with DUI suspect Raymond Morura

Raymond Morua
Raymond Morua appeared in Santa Barbara Superior Court for arraignment, but the matter was continued until Jan. 15. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Police are continuing their efforts to determine exactly what happened the night earlier this month when Mallory Rae Dies was struck and fatally injured by an allegedly drunken hit-and-run driver in downtown Santa Barbara.

A portion of Anacapa Street was blocked off earlier this week so that investigators could take measurements and analyze the circumstances related to the death of 27-year-old Dies, who was taken off life support Dec. 11, five days after suffering massive head injuries.

Police were focusing their attention on the 500 block of Anacapa Street, where Raymond Morua allegedly struck the UCSB graduate as she was crossing the street.

Police said Morua, a former aide to Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, was traveling southbound at a high rate of speed in the right lane of the one-way street when his Dodge Caliber slammed into Dies, knocking her to the ground.

She suffered "significant head trauma" after hitting the pavement, according to Sgt. Riley Harwood, and was in critical condition before being taken off life support.

Police stated that Morua's blood-alcohol level — 0.17 percent — was more than twice the legal limit at which a driver is considered drunk.

Morua remains in custody without bail at Santa Barbara County Jail. He is charged with murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death.

He faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted.

Although Dies was not in the marked crosswalk, Harwood said, she was crossing legally because of the positioning of the street's signalized traffic lights.

Mallory Rae Dies

Helping the police in their reconstruction are several videos of the incident, Harwood confirmed, and depict the scene before, during and after collision of Morua's vehicle.

The videos reportedly were taken from nearby local businesses, although Harwood would not confirm the source.

The investigation is ongoing, and the reconstruction work is continuing, but the block was shut down on Wednesday for about 30 minutes.

Investigators were analyzing the likely speed of the vehicle, its direction of travel and other information related to the investigation, Harwood said.

The police are also looking for any associated violations, on the part of Morua as well as Dies.

"So far, everything still appears that she was crossing the street legally," Harwood said.

Morua is due back in court for arraignment on Jan. 15.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper 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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