By Kianna Anvari
WOODLAND – In a preliminary hearing here Wednesday in Yolo County Superior Court, Victoria Roemhild was facing multiple charges for allegedly driving her vehicle into her boyfriend’s vehicle in her driveway during the early hours of Sept. 17.
Roemhild was facing two felony counts, assault likely to produce great bodily injury and vandalism, along with one misdemeanor count for driving under the influence.
The court later decided to reduce all charges to misdemeanors.
But first, Deputy District Attorney Caryn Warren questioned Deputy Robert Middleman of the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office, who was dispatched after Roemhild’s boyfriend called 911.
Middleman first spoke with the defendant’s boyfriend, who explained that earlier in the evening the two had gotten into a verbal argument. He left the house and attempted to back out of the driveway.
According to the alleged victim, Roemhild got into her vehicle and struck his truck three times while yelling. DDA Warren showed photos of both of the vehicles after the collision. Roemhild’s boyfriend told Deputy Middleman that the damages were estimated at $1,000.
Middleman handcuffed Roemhild and placed her in the back of his patrol vehicle. He attempted to get a statement from her but she refused to answer questions.
During cross-examination, Roemhild’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender James Bradford, clarified that Deputy Middleman did not attempt to take her statement until she was in the back of the patrol vehicle.
When PD Bradford asked if the deputy recorded his conversation with Roemhild’s boyfriend, he said: “I wanna say yes, I did.”
He added that dashcam footage automatically uploads to their main system. However, he did not review the footage before the hearing, he said, and also denied checking whether the alleged victim’s vehicle was registered to the defendant.
Deputy Middleman recalled asking the alleged victim what the original argument was about, but he did not record his response in his report.
Middleman also did not ask Roemhild’s boyfriend if there were any witnesses at the time of the incident.
The deputy said that when he arrived at the scene, he noticed individuals leaving the residence. He added that they were not willing to provide statements.
Deputy Middleman stated that the alleged victim admitted to throwing a plate of chicken out of the car after he was first struck by defendant Roemhild.
The alleged victim also told Deputy Middleman that he was not injured.
“In his opinion, he did not believe that Ms. Roemhild was actually trying to injure him, is that correct?” PD Bradford asked.
“That’s correct, that’s what he said,” replied Middleman. DDA Warren objected to relevance as the deputy answered this question, but Judge Stephen L. Mock overruled.
“He said she was drunk, and that’s why she did it,” said Middleman, who added that Roemhild declined a field sobriety test.
PD Bradford asked the deputy if it is relevant to check if past crimes would prompt a readiness for individuals to lie. Deputy Middleman said that he had no reason to believe that Roemhild’s boyfriend was not being truthful about his statements.
“So the fact that (the victim) sustained a second-degree burglary conviction would not have any relevance on whether he was being truthful with you that night?” asked Bradford.
Middleman said that he did not check their criminal histories at the time of the incident.
“His prior conviction for a burglary has no bearing on that unless I find stolen property inside his vehicle,” said Middleman.
When asked if it was fair to say that the deputy could not tell which vehicle had been struck by the other, he said that he could tell that both the vehicles were involved in a collision.
“We are not trained to investigate vehicle damages,” Middleman added.
During closing arguments, Bradford discussed his motion to reduce the assault and vandalism charges to misdemeanors, arguing he did not believe the damages were felony level. He added that there was not enough evidence to prove intoxication.
Judge Mock asked the prosecution if the defendant had prior convictions, to which they reported that she has three prior DUIs.
Judge Mock reduced Counts 1 and 2 to misdemeanors because no one was seriously hurt, but did believe there was sufficient evidence to hold the defendant to answer at trial.
The judge added that, while the evidence for driving under the influence was skimpy, the defendant’s refusal to participate in a field sobriety test and her driving behavior indicates that she was under the influence of alcohol.
Roemhild’s trial setting conference date is set for Jan. 29, 2021.
Kianna Anvari will earn a Master’s in Public Administration from San Diego State University in May 2021. She is from San Diego.
To sign up for our new newsletter – Everyday Injustice – https://tinyurl.com/yyultcf9
Support our work – to become a sustaining at $5 – $10- $25 per month hit the link: