Arrest made in Cathedral City hit and run that killed pregnant woman
Denise Goolsby • The Desert Sun • February 12, 2009

Police arrested a woman Thursday in a hit and run that killed an expectant mother in Cathedral City.

The woman killed was eight months pregnant.

According to Cathedral City police, Gina Garcia of Palm Springs was arrested on suspicion of felony hit and run.Gina Garcia of Palm Springs, CA

Danica Denton, 18, whose last known address was in Desert Hot Springs, was walking across westbound East Palm Canyon Drive at Van Fleet when she was struck about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. Danica Denton, 18 of Desert Hot Springs, CA.

“Despite tremendous efforts,” she and her unborn child were pronounced dead at 10:30 p.m. at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, according to Cathedral City police.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found Denton lying in the road.

Several witnesses described the car, police said, and the he investigation led officers to Garcia. Her silver Lexus 300 was impounded as evidence.

However, the case is still under investigation.

Cathedral City police ask anyone with information to call 770-0300.


-Another News Report

Arrest Made In Fatal Hit-And-Run Of Pregnant Woman

A pregnant woman and her unborn child died after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.

Police have arrested a Palm Springs woman as the suspect who struck and killed a pregnant woman and her unborn child Wednesday in a hit-and-run in Cathedral City.

Danica Denton, 18, of Desert Hot Springs, was walking west on East Palm Canyon Drive near Van Fleet Avenue when she was hit by a silver Lexus about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Riverside County Coroner's Office said.

Gina Garcia, 34, was taken into custody and booked on a felony hit-and-run charge about 11 a.m. Thursday, according to officials. Gina Garcia of Palm Springs, CA

She was later released on $25,000 bail.

Denton and her unborn baby were pronounced dead about an hour after being struck at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, police said.

Police said Garcia might face additional charges but the case is still under investigation.


"She was a good person," said Jennifer Lewis, who is engaged to Danica's father, Charles Denton. "She had a lot of friends. She was a very happy person."

Danica also has a 1-year-old son.

Charles Denton is speaking with investigators this afternoon, Lewis said.

"He's hanging in there," she said. "It's really taking a toll on him."

“Despite tremendous efforts,” she and her unborn child were pronounced dead at 10:30 p.m. at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, according to a Cathedral City police statement.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found Denton lying in the road.

Several witnesses described the car, police said, and the investigation led officers to Garcia. Her silver Lexus 300 was impounded as evidence.

Garcia is out on $25,000 bail.

The case remains under investigation.

Riverside County District Attorney's Office spokesman Michael Jeandron said this afternoon the DA's office has not yet received the case. It is still in the hands of Cathedral City police.

Cathedral City police ask anyone with information to call 770-0300.

 
KNEWS RADIO INTERVIEW WITH COACHELLA VALLEY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NAACP ON 2/27/2009


Garcia Pleads Guilty

 

 

 

 

Garcia pleads guilty to vehicular manslaughter
Desert Sun staff and wire services • June 15, 2009

Gina Garcia — helped to her feet by her attorneys — grabbed onto a courtroom chair Monday to steady herself before pleading guilty to killing a pregnant woman in a Cathedral City hit-and-run.

“That’s wrong,” yelled the father of victim Danica Denton,” when he heard Garcia plead to DUI gross vehicular manslaughter and fleeing.

Her sentence was 15 years in state prison.

“She should get second-degree murder,” father Charles Denton said loudly, before the judge asked him to leave.

A group rushed Garcia as she walked out of the courtroom at Larson Justice Center in Indio, pushing and shoving and yelling “murderer.”

Sheriff’s deputies escorted Garcia into an elevator, then out a side courthouse door.

Garcia’s attorney, Dean Benjamini, declined to comment.

Denton, who was who was nine-months pregnant with a son, Dorian Caleb, was hit by a silver Lexus about 9:30 p.m. Feb. 11 while crossing East Palm Canyon Drive at Van Fleet Av enue. The 18-year-old had just seen a movie with her boyfriend.

According to a coroner’s report, Garcia went home after the collision and argued with her husband, Javier Garcia. She then took an unknown amount of medication and be came unresponsive. Her husband called 911, and she was taken to Desert Re gional Medical Center in Palm Springs for treatment.

Garcia was arrested the next day on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and freed in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Family and the Coachella Valley NAACP questioned the bail amount, saying Garcia received special treatment because her husband is a detective with the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.

Officials with the district attorney’s office have said that’s not true. A Denton relative also works in the district attorney’s office. The case was turned over the California Attorney General’s Office to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest.

As part of the plea agreement, Garcia’s attorney, Dean Benjamini, asked Judge Graham A. Cribbs that Garcia begin serving her time on Aug. 14 so she could have time to recover from a pre-scheduled surgery and weeks-long hospitalization.

The plea agreement also requested that Garcia remain out on $25,000 bail until Aug. 14.

Cribbs asked for information about Garcia’s medical condition to review, and ordered Garcia back to court next Monday to reconsider a higher bail amount, or if Garcia should immediately be sent to prison.

Denton said friends and family are considering going to California Attorney General Jerry Brown in Sacramento to dispute the plea agreement.

"This was a substantial penalty and we believe appropriate in this case," said Scott Gerber, a spokesman for the attorney general's office.

According to her attorney, Garcia also pleaded guilty to DUI charges in 1995.

Danica Denton, Gina Garcia Story

June 23, 2009 - Gina Garcia free on bail until August 14.  Click to Enlarge
  Click to Enlarge

Gina Garcia's surrender delayed again
Staff and wire reports • August 28, 2009

A judge has ruled that a Palm Springs woman who pleaded guilty to being drunk when she fatally struck a pregnant 18-year-old woman can remain out of custody until Sept. 25 because of complications from a surgery.

Gina Garcia, 35, of Palm Springs was scheduled to appear in court at the Larson Justice Center in Indio at 8:30 a.m. today.

She had been initially scheduled to turn herself in two weeks ago, however at that time Judge Thomas H. Cahraman delayed her surrender to today because of illness.

Garcia, who was not in court today, was still in the hospital recovering from surgery, her attorney, Dean Benjamini, told Judge William Lebov.

Benjamini said Garcia, who had her colon removed, has suffered complications and has had two procedures, the most recent performed on Wednesday. She is unable to be medically released from the hospital.

“Ms. Garcia will not be able to be released for at least three to four weeks,” Benjamini told the court.

Before the attorney spoke, the judge warned the courtroom that no talking or show of emotion would be allowed during the proceedings. He said those who violated the orders will be removed from court or could face jail time.

“This is a continuation of what is a disgusting travesty of justice,” said Charles Denton after leaving the courtroom.

Charles Denton held up two death certificates – one for Danica and one for her unborn son.

Danica Denton was nine months pregnant with a son — whom she planned to name Dorian Caleb — when she was hit by a silver Lexus about 9:30 p.m. Feb. 11 while crossing East Palm Canyon Drive at Van Fleet Avenue in Cathedral City.

She and the child died a short time later.

According to a coroner's report, Garcia went home after the collision and argued with her husband. She then took an unknown amount of medication and became unresponsive.

Her husband called 911 and she was taken to a hospital.

Garcia was arrested the next day on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and freed on $25,000 bail.

Family and the Coachella Valley National Association for the Advancement of Colored People questioned the bail amount, arguing it should be set at $150,000.

Family and supporters also said Garcia received special treatment because of her husband's position.

Officials with the district attorney's office have said that's not true. A Denton relative also works in the district attorney's office.

The case was turned over the California Attorney General's Office to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest.

As part of a June plea agreement, Garcia was allowed to stay out on $25,000 bail until Aug. 14 so she could have time to recover from a scheduled surgery and weeks-long hospitalization.

Family members also were outraged by that ruling, saying she should have been imprisoned immediately.


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