Preliminary hearing for DUI suspect delayed
The preliminary of a pregnant woman charged with manslaughter has been pushed to a later date. At a Thursday hearing, Candice Ooley, 23, of Clovis, struggled to hold back tears as her preliminary hearing was set for Sept. 9 by Judge Ernest J. LiCalsi.
She was also ordered to return to court on Aug. 25 to prepare for the hearing.
Ooley’s preliminary hearing was originally set for June 22, but was delayed to July 28.
This most recent delay was granted to the defense after they requested more time to look over the medical records of the victims involved in the accident.
“I talked to the deputy that was in court,” said Madera County District Attorney David A. Linn. “(The deputy) had said that the court had some of the medical records, but didn’t have them all, which is, unfortunately, what necessitated the continuance.”
Ooley is being represented by the law offices of Richard A. Ciummo and Associates.
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 vehicle 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.
Ooley, who was was six months pregnant, was reportedly found to be driving with a blood-alcohol level of .32, four times the legal limit. According to Linn, Ooley had been in a fight with her boyfriend when she decided to drink and drive.
Both Linn, and Ooley’s defense, have expressed concerns that Ooley’s unborn child might suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome as a result of Ooley’s drinking.
Ooley was reportedly driving on a suspended license from a previous DUI arrest in 2015. Two days prior to her accident, she failed to make a scheduled appearance in court, which, Madera attorney Daniel K. Martin has stated, was because the summons was sent to the wrong address.
Ooley’s bail was originally set at $125,000. This sum was brought up to $250,000 at the recommendation of 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.
Ooley currently faces a charge of manslaughter with great bodily injury and enhancements. Linn has also stated, however, that Ooley could face murder charges if there is evidence that she knew the dangers of drinking and driving. Ooley’s defense has made the decision to plead not guilty, a decision which, Linn has stated, was ill-advised.
“I believe that we have made the most generous settlement offer that we will ever make, and that is to plead guilty to all the counts that we charged,” Linn said. “And I, in all honesty, can’t understand why that defense attorney has not taken our offer.”
If convicted, Ooley could face no less than 15 years in state prison.