LANCASTER — Arraignment was postponed Tuesday for Samantha Lozano, the driver charged with fleeing the scene of a single-vehicle crash that killed two of her passengers.
“It appears that a question was raised… as to the mental health ability of [Lozano] to assist in her own defense, so the case has been sent to mental health court,” stated Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
A hearing is scheduled for March 14 for an update on the mental health proceedings, Santiago added.
Lozano, 26, of Palmdale, is charged with two counts of felony vehicular manslaughter and one felony count each of hit and run driving resulting in death or serious injury to another person and possession for sale of methamphetamine, according to court records.
The charges were filed Feb. 16 in connection to the Feb. 4 crash that killed Steve Wissar Jr. and Talia Novak, both 20, of Palmdale.
The deadly single-vehicle collision occurred around 4:30 p.m. on Palmdale Boulevard, west of 130th Street East, according to a California Highway Patrol report.
Lozano was driving a 1999 Infinity G20 westbound on Palmdale Boulevard when the vehicle veered off the road, overturned and crashed into a utility pole, the CHP report states.
Steve Wissar Jr. sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Four people in the backseat — Sodel Wissar, 21, of Palmdale; Jacob Soto, 18, of Urbandale, IA; a 17-year-old boy from North Hills; and Novak — were thrown from the car as it was overturning. The backseat passengers were transported to local hospitals with major injuries, and Novak was later pronounced dead, according to the CHP.
Lozano allegedly fled the crash scene in an unknown vehicle and eluded authorities for 10 days.
She was arrested Feb. 14 at an apartment complex on 11th Street East, south of Palmdale Blvd., and officers seized a “large amount of methamphetamine” during the arrest, according to a CHP report.
Lozano remains in custody with bail set at $1,030,000.
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