The woman charged with the death of a man who police say tried to stop her from driving under the influence in Paso Robles last year has pleaded not guilty.
Sarah Hale was in court Thursday morning for her arraignment. Her attorney denied the special allegations against his client, which include fleeing the scene of a crime and inflicting great bodily injury.
She also pleaded not guilty to charges filed against her last week, including felony gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent causing injury and leaving the scene of an accident in connection with the Dec. 28, 2018 incident near Santa Maria Brewing Co., located at 14th and Park in Paso Robles.
Investigators said several friends of Hale were trying to stop her from driving. The victim, identified as Jose Montesguillen and referred to as J.M. in the criminal complaint, was also attempting to stop her, but was thrown from the vehicle and hit the pavement, police said.
“She didn’t even know that someone was injured at the time that it happened, that’s one of the advancements that has been subsequently added,” her attorney said in court Thursday.
An attorney representing the people requested Hale’s bail be increased to $200,000 instead of $100,000 because of the danger Hale has to the public. The judge denied the request saying an increase in bail did not make a difference in terms of the community’s safety.
Hale remains out of custody after posting bail following her arrest.
Since the incident, Hale’s attorney says his client is using a device to check her alcohol levels four times a day, attending alcoholics anonymous and seeking counseling.
A pre-preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 27 at 8:30 a.m.