A San Diego woman will stand trial for allegedly running over and killing a co-worker and friend who tried to keep her from driving drunk.
Latisha Cherme Ingram, 33, faces five felony charges, including second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while driving drunk, and hit-and-run stemming from the June 27 incident.
During a preliminary hearing Tuesday, 23-year-old Gabriela Rojo testified the three coworkers and friends went to Crabhut on Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa, and then to O’Brien’s, a bar at the other end of the strip mall. She said she and another co-worker, Ha Minh Ta, tried to get Ingram’s address so they could get her an Uber. Rojo also testified Ingram’s roommate had agreed to pick her up.
Rojo testified Ingram sat in her car, and she pleaded with her to wait for her roommate to arrive.
“She (Ingram) seemed angry and impatient. She wanted to leave …She started yelling at me twice…I’m leaving. Leave me the (expletive) alone," Rojo said.
At one point, Rojo said Ingram pushed her. Rather than push back, Rojo said “I hugged her, told her to relax.”
Rojo said Ta told her to let him talk to Ingram and testified she walked behind the car while Ta was standing near the car door talking to Ingram who was sitting in the driver’s seat. Rojo said she heard Ta say, “Listen to Gaby.”
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Rojo said whem Ingram backed up the car she yelled for Ta to let go.
“I remember I was behind the car and I looked at him, and his feet. He couldn’t catch his balance," Rojo said.
As Ingram drove out of the parking lot and turned south on Convoy Street, Ta was run over. He was pronounced dead soon after at a nearby hospital.
Joshua Bautista also testified Tuesday. At the time of the incident, he was an Uber driver who had just dropped off some passengers. He says they noticed what they thought was a man and woman fighting.
“He was saying, 'No no,' and shaking his head,” Bautista said. He took out his cell phone and recorded what happened.
"I think he was trying to be a good citizen, stop her from drinking and driving,” said Kiana Smith, an employee at the nearby Raki Raki restaurant.
Smith told NBC 7 Ingram had been refused service because she was “clearly drunk.”
Ingram's defense said she later returned to the scene. Rojo testified she saw Ingram talking with police and that she was trying to blame Ta’s death on her.
“She was saying that I was a liar and that I killed Ha. She said that I did it – that I was driving the car. And she kept saying my name, ‘Gaby, Gaby, Gaby,’” Rojo said.
Prosecutors did not initially know Ingram’s blood alcohol concentration that night, but in court Tuesday, it was revealed that Ingram was allegedly driving with a 0.182 BAC – more than twice the legal limit.
Court documents show Ingram was previously convicted of DUI in Orange County in 2010.
Since Ingram’s arrest, a judge deemed her a danger to the community and set her bail at $2.5 million. If Ingram is convicted on second-degree murder, she faces 15 years to life in prison.