Melissa Brigette Brown has begun serving the last three months days of her 180-day sentence for killing Newhall mother Matilda Garnica with her car on July 4, 2010.
A San Fernando Superior Court judge ordered the 23-year-old Canyon Country woman remanded into custody Wednesday to begin serving a jail term for driving into a crowd – killing Garnica and injuring several others – during the City of Santa Clarita’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show last year.
Deputy District Attorney Richard Quinones said Brown was sentenced to 180 days in county jail and was placed on three years of formal probation. Brown was given credit for time served both in custody and under house arrest.
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San Fernando Superior Court Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell additionally ordered the defendant to complete 80 hours of community service at local high schools where she will share the circumstances surrounding her conviction.
Brown, who in October pleaded no contest to one count of vehicular manslaughter, must also complete a two-day hospital and morgue program.
On July 4, 2010, Brown collided with another vehicle after she ran a red light on Valencia Boulevard at Mall Entrance Drive. She lost control of her vehicle and careened into a crowd of spectators gathered to watch a fireworks display in front of Islands restaurant.
Garnica, 43, was standing on the sidewalk with her family and several neighborhood children, and was killed instantly in the crash. Several others sustained minor injuries.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies, Santa Clarita Station, investigated the case.
Court records show Brown had a prior record of driving offenses. She was ticketed for speeding once in 2007 and twice in 2009. On Dec. 12, 2009, she also received a citation for running a red light. The DMV had sent her warning letters “indicating she needed to slow down,” SCV Traffic Sgt. Richard Cohen has said.
Due to jail overcrowding, non-violent offenders in Los Angeles County currently serve 20 percent of their sentence.
To read more about the original incident, click here.