PALMDALE – A 16-year-old Palmdale girl sleeping inside her room was killed early Sunday morning, when a suspected drunk driver rammed his SUV into the residence.
The teenager, identified by family members as Palmdale High School student Giselle Mendoza, was pronounced at the scene. The driver, 20-year-old Roberto Rodriguez, was treated at the hospital for minor injuries and then booked for vehicular manslaughter, according to a press release from the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station. Read it below:
Early Sunday morning, April 20, 2014, a Palmdale Sheriff’s Station patrol unit travelling on East Avenue R at 10th Street East, Palmdale, noticed a sports utility vehicle embedded into the wall of an apartment building in the 1000 block of East Avenue R, Palmdale.
It was approximately 3:50 a.m. when the deputy contacted citizens at the scene and found they were detaining the driver of the vehicle. The driver, identified as Roberto Rodriguez (male, 20 years old, resident of Palmdale), was taken into custody by the deputy. The vehicle was a 2007 Nissan Pathfinder.
Residents alerted Sheriff’s personnel that a female occupant was possibly in the room into which the vehicle collided and became embedded.
Additional deputies responded and attempted to enter the building by pulling away the damaged wall, but were unable to gain full access.
Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel responded, gained access into the apartment and located a female, 16 years old, who was fatally injured inside the home. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Preliminary investigation indicates that alcohol intoxication may have been a factor in this incident.
Rodriguez was transported to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries and was booked at Palmdale Sheriff’s Station for vehicular manslaughter. He is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
The crash displaced at least two more families at the apartment complex, authorities at the scene said. The American Red Cross responded to the scene to help the affected families.
UPDATE: Rodriguez bonded out of jail around 7:49 p.m. Sunday, April 20, Sheriff’s officials said. He is due in court Tuesday, April 22.
No charges had been filed against Roberto Rodriguez as of Tuesday, April 22, because the case had not yet been presented to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, according to LADA spokesman Ricardo Santiago. A new arraignment date will be set once charges are filed.
Roberto Rodriguez was charged May 19 with murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage causing injury and driving with a .08% blood alcohol content causing injury. The case also alleges Rodríguez caused great bodily injury upon the victim, Giselle Mendoza. Rodriguez pleaded not guilty on May 20.