A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Candice Ooley, the Clovis woman accused of killing a Lemoore man in May in a drunken-driving crash in Madera County.
Ooley, 23, was ordered on Friday to return to the Madera County Superior Court on Oct. 21 for a hearing before Madera County Judge Ernest LiCalsi. She was also ordered to appear on Oct. 4 for a pre-preliminary hearing. The trial setting for a previous, misdemeanor charge will also likely be discussed on both dates.
Ooley was arrested after she reportedly drove her 2014 Chevrolet Cruze into the back of a 2006 Hummer H3 on State Route 41 between Coarsegold and Oakhurst, causing the Hummer to go off the road and crash. Frederico Nunez Silva, 47, of Lemoore, was killed, and three others were injured in the accident, which occurred on the night of May 20.
At the scene of the accident, a California Highway Patrol officer reportedly found that Ooley, who was about six months pregnant, had a blood-alcohol level of .32, four times the legal limit.
Ooley’s bail was originally $125,000. This sum was brought up to $250,000 at the recommendation of Madera County District Attorney David A. Linn. Ooley’s defense tried to lower the bail in a June 1 hearing, to which Judge LiCalsi responded by raising the bail again — this time to $300,000.
Still in custody, Ooley gave birth to a girl in July at Madera Community Hospital.
She was given several days to bond with her newborn before being returned to Madera County Jail.
Ooley’s attorney, Daniel Martin, has said the baby is healthy, and is living with Ooley’s mother. “The baby’s doing good,” Martin said. “Happy, healthy, so far as we know.”
According to Linn, Ooley had been in an argument with her boyfriend, when she decided to drink and drive.
Martin confirmed that a fight had occurred on May 20, and claimed that a glass had been thrown at her. He also confirmed that alcohol containers had been found in her car. Martin, however, stated in August that Ooley was not drunk during the accident, citing a potential witness from a store in North Fork, who had reportedly seen her approximately 45 minutes before the crash, and that she was distressed, but sober.
“My theory on the case, based on what I’ve pieced together, is she was sober there, (and) consumed alcohol in the moments before the accident,” Martin said. “She was not legally drunk at the accident ...”
Martin then stated that it was only during the process of investigating the scene and providing medical treatment that the alcohol took effect.
This theory has been dismissed by Linn.
Ooley was reportedly driving on a suspended license, after she had been arrested for a previous DUI at Millerton Lake last June. Ooley was due to appear in court in Bass Lake shortly before the wreck that ended Silva’s life, but failed to show up. According to Martin, this is because her summons was sent to the wrong address.
The trial setting to be discussed on Oct. 4 and Oct. 21 concerns this previous incident.
Currently Ooley faces a charge of manslaughter with great bodily injury and enhancements.
Linn has also stated that his office will push for murder charges if there is evidence that she knew the dangers of drinking and driving.
With her current charges, if convicted, Ooley could face no less than 15 years in a state prison.