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Woman charged with death of man outside Paso Robles brewery changes plea

Sarah Hale pleads no contest in court on Wednesday
Posted at 6:36 PM, Feb 19, 2020

The woman charged with the death of a man who police say tried to stop her from driving under the influence in Paso Robles in late 2018 has changed her plea.

Sarah Hale entered no contest pleas during a scheduled pre-preliminary hearing Wednesday morning in San Luis Obispo County Superior Court to charges that include 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, according to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

The charges were filed against Hale in February of last year and the criminal case against her has been ongoing ever since.

On Dec. 28, 2018, Paso Robles police said several of Hale’s friends were trying to stop her from driving away from Santa Maria Brewing Co., located at 14th and Park in Paso Robles.

Jose Montesguillen, who was referred to as J.M. in the criminal complaint, was also trying to stop Hale but was thrown from the vehicle and hit the pavement, police said. He died from his injuries.

During Hale’s arraignment a year ago, her attorney said his client was unaware anyone was injured at the time.

Wednesday’s plea was an open plea, according to the DA’s Office, meaning there was no agreement between Hale, who has been out of custody since shortly after her arrest, and the prosecution.

Hale faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison.

Sentencing is set for April 6.