28-Year-Old Woman Arraigned In Dui Vehicular Manslaughter Of 17-Year-Old Boy
A San Jose woman charged in the death of a 17-year-old Fremont boy on state Highway 17 early Saturday was arraigned Wednesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Ashley Marie Oliver, 28, has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony DUI causing injury in the crash that killed Armando Canales and injured four other victims.
Oliver appeared in court in San Jose in a wheelchair after being hospitalized for major injuries from the crash and did not enter a plea.
Both Oliver's and Canales' families were present at Wednesday's hearing, and Canales' mother and older brother, Tina and Jose Cacilhas, rose from their seats to show Judge Ronald Toff that they were in attendance.
If convicted, Oliver faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. Her bail was raised Wednesday to $450,000, despite initial pushback from Deputy District Attorney Heather Melton who wanted her held on no-bail status. Melton said after the arraignment that Toff's decision was reasonable.
"I'm completely broken -- he was my everything," said Tina Cacilhas, who was in favor of no bail and wants a maximum sentence for Oliver. "I didn't want her to be out, to be able to hurt somebody else."
Cacilhas said she last spoke to her son at about 11:30 p.m. Friday night, after he had gone to hang out with friends and asked to spend the night. She said he always checked in when he was late, and said "Mama, I love you."
Canales was a junior and a football player at Washington High School, and a fire technology student at Mission Valley Regional Occupational Program. A GoFundMe donation page at https://www.gofundme.com/armando-canales for his funeral expenses has raised over $16,000 of its $10,000 goal this week.
"She took my son's life, and all my son ever wanted was to be was a firefighter," Cacilhas said. "His life was taken way too short, didn't get to get his license, didn't get to see graduation, everything just down the drain."
Canales was riding in the backseat of a Toyota Corolla with four other people at about 2 a.m. when the car was hit head-on by Oliver, according to the California Highway Patrol.
She was driving the wrong way on southbound Highway 17 just south of Redwood Estates in unincorporated Santa Clara County, and Melton said her blood alcohol content was above the legal level.
"As a mother, my heart breaks for Tina Cacilhas," Melton said. "The loss of Armando is immeasurable."
The case is still under investigation by the CHP. Oliver is being represented by the county public defender's office and will next appear in court for a plea hearing on May 23.
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