A mother accused of driving drunk with three children in her vehicle, leading to a Temecula crash that killed her 8-year-old daughter, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and other counts, California Highway Patrol officials said Monday.
The collision happened at 6:20 p.m. Sunday at the intersection state Route 79 and Anza Road, according to the CHP.
Investigators said Jessica Nieto, 33, of Temecula, was behind the wheel of a 2011 Honda Pilot that was heading west on the two-lane highway when it drifted to the right and into the dirt shoulder. Nieto attempted to pull the SUV back onto the roadway but over-corrected, sending the vehicle into the opposing lane, according to the CHP.
The Pilot then collided with an eastbound 2011 Chevrolet Silverado that was going between 55 and 60 mph.
Investigators said an 8-year-old girl in the Pilot was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
A 12-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl in the Honda suffered major injuries and were taken to Riverside County Regional Medical Center. Nieto was taken to Inland Valley Medical Center with major injuries.
Three Thermal residents in the Silverado were also injured and taken to Inland Valley Medical Center. The driver, Benjamin Mauldin, 46, and a 43-year-old woman suffered major injuries while a 12-year-old girl suffered minor injuries, the CHP reported.
Nieto was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI, child endangerment and gross vehicular manslaughter, according to the CHP.
There was no record yet of Nieto being booked into Riverside County jail. Although she likely remains hospitalized, the extent of her injuries was unknown.