Vehicular manslaughter charges were filed Monday against the driver of a Metropolitan Transit District bus involved in a crash last fall that killed one woman and severely injured another in downtown Santa Barbara.
Aura Leticia Mijangos, 61, of Goleta, is facing a misdemeanor manslaughter count alleging she committed “ordinary negligence” in her operation of the bus when it slammed into a bus bench on the first block of West Figueroa Street on Oct. 9, 2019.
Eve Debra Johnson, 67, was killed instantly and Gloria Bravo De Ayala, 75, was critically injured when the bus jumped the curb and struck the bench where passengers were waiting to board, according to police.
Several passengers on the bus also sustained injuries.
Authorities previously said that, at the time of the crash, the bus was traveling 5-10 mph, and was due to stop to pick up passengers at the bus stop.
In announcing the charges, the District Attorney’s Office explained why Mijangos was not charged with a felony:
“The difference between this offense and the charge of gross vehicular manslaughter, a felony, is the degree of negligence.
“Ordinary negligence is the failure to use reasonable care to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to oneself or someone else. Gross negligence involves more than ordinary carelessness, inattention or mistake in judgement.
“A person acts with gross negligence when he or she acts in a reckless way that creates a high risk of death or great bodily injury and a reasonable person would have known that acting in that way would create such a risk.”
The California Highway Patrol assisted the Police Department in investigating the crash.
Mijangos, who was not in custody on Monday, is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Santa Barbara for arraignment on Aug. 17, according to the District Attorney’s Office.