Friday, April 12, 2024

DUI News Blog

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DUI suspect pleads not guilty in Garden Grove crash that killed 9-year-old and her mother

The man accused of driving drunk and causing a New Year’s Day pile-up on the 22 Freeway that killed a 9-year-old girl and her mother has pleaded not guilty in the case.

Melvin Branch, 30, appeared in front of a judge for the first time on Monday, facing vehicular manslaughter charges.

He is accused of driving while intoxicated and causing a four-car crash east of Valley View. Payton Castillo and her mother, 33-year-old Jolene Gardner, and a third person were in a pickup truck that overturned in the pileup. The girl died at the scene, the CHP said. Gardner was pronounced dead at UC Irvine Medical Center.

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