Trial ordered for woman accused in fatal DUI accident near UTC

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A disabled Air Force veteran accused of driving under
the influence of four depressants and causing a multi-car crash in University
City that killed a 77-year-old man in another car was ordered Thursday to stand
trial on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and driving under the
influence of drugs.

Soranon Booppanon, 39, faces 15 years in prison if convicted.

Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey said Booppanon was under the
influence of Valium and three other prescription medications about 10:30 a.m.
last Oct. 23 when she blew through a red light on westbound La Jolla Village
Drive at Genesee and caused a chain-reaction crash that killed George Matteson
of Pacific Beach.

An autopsy revealed the victim died from blunt impact injuries to the
head and torso.

Matteson's 74-year-old wife, Betty, received more than 10 broken bones
and was seriously injured.

Harvey said Booppanon was going 68 mph and accelerating when she ran the

“She never should have been driving,” the prosecutor said outside court.

Defense attorney Cole Casey said Booppanon has numerous medical problems
as a result of 13 years in the military, and was on her way to the Veteran's
Administration when the crash happened.

Casey said he was hopeful his client would be eligible for Veteran's
Court, a program designed to help military veterans get treatment after finding
themselves in legal trouble.

Following today's preliminary hearing, Judge Laura Alksne found that
enough evidence was presented for Booppanon to stand trial June 2.

Booppanon must remain on home detention, leaving only for doctor's
appointments and court appearances, the judge ruled.

Casey said his client would continue to obey all court orders.

“She's terrified,” Casey said of the defendant, who needs a walker to
get around.

Categories: KUSI