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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mistrail Declared in Orange County Distracted Driver Case

A mistrial was declared in the distracted driving case against Jorene Nicolas, 31, who was charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for a 2011 fatal accident. 



Prosecutors said Nicolas, of San Diego, collided with another driver on the 405 Freeway in Westminster while she was distracted. Nicolas was allegedly so distracted that she was unaware that traffice had come to a complete stop on the freeway. As a result, 23-year-old Deanna Mauer was killed in the accident after her car slammed into the center divider. 

According to prosecutors, her vehicle was traveling about 80 mph when she crashed into Mauer. The defense alleged Mauer swerved in front of Nicolas, and that the victim's brake lights either weren't working, or she didn't apply them right before the crash. 

Ultimately, the jury deadlocked in deciding Nicolas' fate. Jurors deliberated for about 16 hours before announcing they were unable to break the impasse. The vote was 11 guilty to one not guilty. Prosecutors asked for a new trial, and a trial setting conference has been set for May 16. 

If convicted, Nicholas may serve up to 6 years in prison. 

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