DUI Collision Defendant Allegedly Adds to Her Woes with Mistreatment of CHP Officer

By Roselyn Poommai

SACRAMENTO, CA – After a Sacramento County Superior Court preliminary hearing here last week, the defendant is now set for trial for not only multiple DUI counts involving severe injuries, but also additional charges, including battery and resisting a peace officer.

There’s also a claim by a witness that two passengers exited the defendant’s vehicle and fled from the scene moments after the collision. As it is, the defendant faces two felonies and two misdemeanors.

According to the court-read facts, on March 30, 2020, around 8:30 p.m., the defendant’s car collided with another vehicle before crashing into the tree of a residential yard. Field sobriety and chemical breath tests later confirmed their blood-alcohol level of 0.91.

The first witness the prosecution called was the operator of the vehicle, the defendant had crashed into that night, who said he spotted the defendant’s car to his left side and thought, “Oh my…this is it. It’s going to be bad.”

Moments later, he found himself compressed between the airbag and his seat.

The victim testified that he was in shock and did not spot any passengers in or exiting the vehicle at any point, and recalled, “[the defendant] came running over to my car, was offering very profuse apologies: ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’ll pay. I’ll do whatever necessary.’”

The victim was left with body injuries and a laceration on his left hand and was required to wear a neck brace for a fracture for the following two months.

Deputy District Attorney Emily Divinnagracia called the second witness, California Highway Patrol Officer Greg White, who testified that another witness at the scene saw two individuals exiting the back of the defendant’s vehicle and running northbound from the scene.

After locating the defendant, White stated that the defendant insisted they were alone in the vehicle and had been hungover from the day prior. The defendant also claimed that they had not consumed additional alcohol since then.

Officer White later escorted the defendant to the hospital for booking clearance after field sobriety and chemical breath tests confirmed their intoxication.

Later in the process, the defendant started becoming uncooperative, he said, adding, “[The defendant] started banging their head against the wall, and at one point they stood up from their chair, leaned forward, and slammed the back of their head against a glass picture frame, shattering the picture frame.”

He explained that they were “very uncooperative, flailing on the ground, kicking, yelling, screaming, very abusive speaking” towards him, and while taking them to jail, “ [the defendant] continued to be verbally abusive to me. I could hear a gurgling noise where [they] sucked air into [their] nose and spit directly at me, hitting the back of my head and my hand.”

Defense Attorney Byron Roope asked the court to reduce the felony DUI allegation because the “accident could have been worse” and argued that the defendant’s conduct at the hospital and with the officer stemmed from mental health issues.

“This is absolutely a felony offense,” Prosecutor Divinnagracia shot back, adding, “There were other people in the car…[they] put not only the victim’s life in danger but [their] passenger’s lives in danger as well. I don’t think there’s any evidence of mental health being an issue here. I think that…[the defendant] who was very intoxicated and angry that [they] got caught…and then acted the way that [they] did to the officer.”

The defense entered not guilty pleas and denials to all enhancements.

Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie found sufficient cause to establish guilt and confirmed a June 28 trial date.

Roselyn is a second-year undergraduate double-majoring in Psychological Science and Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine. A native of Los Angeles, California, she is passionate about the role of human behavior in the criminal justice system.


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8 Comments

  1. vdisney

    I wish the DA would have taken Maya’s mental health issues into consideration, she had a long history dating back to 3rd grade.  Her demons became to much for her to bear, on April 9th she took her own life.  She was my only grandchild, Verne Disney

  2. Rose D

    Hi Davis Vanguard, Defendant’s mom here. It’s been a couple of months, but I only now have the strength to start speaking out and telling Maya’s side of the story. Here it is. I plan to keep telling it until whoever needs to hear it, hears it. So don’t forget her name.

    I was at the scene of the arrest. I told CHP Officer Greg White as she was being arrested that Maya suffered from untreated mental illness. I warned him about her issues, and told him exactly what was going to happen. She was visibly on the brink of a psychotic break, and I begged him to get help for her. I told him that his forceful response would make things way worse than they needed to be. I asked him to allow me to accompany her to the hospital, and he basically told me to go home and let him do his job. According to testimony at the hearing, she was totally fine until she suddenly and inexplicably began screaming and banging her head against the wall AT THE HOSPITAL. How does this not look like a psychiatric issue??? Yet, no one – not the officer, or the doctors, or whatever concerned citizens may have been present – cared enough to evaluate her mental state. They cleared her for booking and he literally dragged her, kicking and screaming, through the parking lot.

    At the end of it all, CHP Officer Greg White LIED. Specifically, he lied about her spitting on him, apparently to really stick it to her during booking. The officer actually bullied and verbally threatened her while driving her to jail, which he obviously lied about. His written statement/report said everything was recorded on in-car video – it even provided a video number. But the CHP now says “Oh, the battery must have died,” and only produced a short snippet of the evening’s videos after nearly a year of requests. The first video file they submitted to her attorney wouldn’t even open. By the way, “the battery must have died” isn’t even a thing.

    Maya was humiliated and deeply wounded by this entire case. Not only did she feel profound remorse for having hurt an innocent person, she felt incredible fear about going to jail. These trumped up charges made her ineligible for alternative sentencing. What’s more, her very private mental health issues were paraded in the public eye to then be callously dismissed by the DA. Shame on you for making that woman look like some kind of hero for openly disregarding someone’s medical condition. Why not highlight the fact that Officer White, during testimony, was pretty much unable to reliably confirm ANY of his written allegations. He was all about “I don’t know” and “I don’t recall” but you don’t seem interested in that part of the story. It was so obviously one-sided that she relegated herself to be at the mercy of these people who obviously cared nothing about her well-being or the truth. The stress of this past year was so severe that Maya lost all of her hair, which caused her to fall into even greater depression, and fear of her fate in jail. Maya spent two weeks in jail after the arrest, with no arraignment, no lawyer, no pretrial interview, and no information about when she’d get out. She was assaulted and bullied by inmates, harassed by guards, and she was TERRIFIED of going back for a minimum of six months, which was supposedly the best the DA was willing to do. She never denied the DUI. She understood there would be a consequence for that. Even the runaway passengers in the car were her a matter of her word vs some random guy that didn’t even testify, and weren’t a part of her charges anyway. She felt so unrepresented and hopeless.

    Maya took her own life April 9, on her 20th birthday. Maya has become yet another statistic to add to the countless brown and black people in our society who are failed by the systems we supposedly pride ourselves on. Failed by the education system, by healthcare system, and by the criminal justice system. Mental illness is REAL. Bias in the healthcare and criminal justice systems is REAL. Even if it’s just a college kids’ news publication, you should do better. For the sake of someone else’s child, I beg you to do better. #suicideawareness #mentalhealthawareness #CopsLie

  3. Bill Marshall

    So Maya is the defendant, now deceased?  Why is a Court date being set for June?  Ouija board?

    The ‘report’ and comments are “weird”… particularly if the defendant passed over 6 weeks ago, still being tried, and “reported” on the VG (apparently, as current) now?

    Having a real problem “connecting the dots”…

    1. David Greenwald

      Because the article was written in March before she died. The date is at the top of the article. Is this that difficult to understand?

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