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‘She was a good girl.’ Mother of Santa Maria crash victim speaks out during suspect’s first hearing

Posted at 11:12 AM, Apr 17, 2019

A man who police say was under the influence and caused a crash in Santa Maria last month that killed two young girls from Atascadero appeared in court for the first time Wednesday in what turned out to be an emotional hearing.

Charges have not yet been filed against Javier Artemio Cortes, 27, prompting the hearing to be pushed to June.

The crash happened in the early-morning hours of March 16 at the intersection of Donovan Road and Miller Street.

Two people from Atascadero, identified as Madison Elizabeth Coleman, 17, and Monica Gonzalez, 20, were pronounced dead at the scene. A third person was reportedly ejected and suffered life-threatening injuries.

Santa Maria police have not released the condition of a fourth person in the vehicle.

Coleman’s parents were in court for Wednesday morning’s hearing at Santa Maria Superior Court.

Julie Coleman (left), the mother of Madison Coleman who was killed in the crash, addresses the court April 17. (KSBY photo)


While Cortes was on the stand, an emotional Julie Coleman addressed the court saying her daughter “was a good girl,” who had a job, a boyfriend, a 14-year-old brother, and was heading to college in the fall. “We will never see our child again,” she said while looking at Cortes.

Javier Cortez during his first court appearance April 17. (KSBY photo)


Hours after the high-speed crash, police say they determined Cortes was at fault. His vehicle reportedly crashed into the Jeep the young women were in.

Cortes was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of DUI and vehicular manslaughter but later posted bail and remains out of custody.

Suspect posts bail following Santa Maria crash that killed 2 from Atascadero
2 dead, driver facing DUI and vehicular manslaughter charges following Santa Maria crash