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Sioux City woman charged in hit and run pleads not guilty to OWI

Sioux City woman charged in hit and run pleads not guilty to OWI

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SIOUX CITY -- A Sioux City woman charged with vehicular homicide in Nebraska pleaded not guilty Friday to driving drunk in Sioux City the same night as the traffic fatality.

Maria Gonzalez-Diego, 19, entered a written plea to second-offense operating while intoxicated and driving while her license was revoked. District Associate Judge Todd Hensley scheduled a pretrial conference for July 25 in Woodbury County District Court. Gonzalez-Diego remains in the Woodbury County Jail on a $511,500 bond.

She is charged in Dakota County in Nebraska with motor vehicle homicide and failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death. She is accused of striking Antonia Lopez De Ramirez the evening of June 24 in a South Sioux City intersection and driving away. Lopez De Ramirez, 62, died later at a hospital.

Sioux City police stopped Gonzalez-Diego about 10 minutes after the hit and run after receiving reports of a car swerving and nearly hitting other vehicles in the 1300 block of Summit Street. Gonzalez-Diego had difficulties standing and fell off a chair during an interview at the jail, court documents said. A preliminary breath test showed her blood alcohol content at 0.292 percent, more than three times above the legal driving limit of 0.08 percent.

Police investigating the hit and run in South Sioux City used debris at the scene to link Gonzalez-Diego's car to the incident.

Gonzalez-Diego told police she was on her phone while driving and had already hit the woman by the time she looked up. She then became scared and took off, court documents said.

At the time of her June 24 arrest, Gonzalez-Diego was out on bond after being arrested in Sioux City a week earlier for second-offense operating while intoxicated and driving while her license was revoked. She has pleaded not guilty to those charges. She was convicted of OWI and possession of marijuana in February and was sentenced to two days in jail.

A second teenager is charged in Dakota County with providing alcohol to Gonzalez-Diego prior to the crash.

According to court documents, Joel Perea Duenas, 18, told police that Gonzalez-Diego had been hanging out at his South Sioux City home earlier in the evening and he offered her tequila from his refrigerator and gave her a cup and Coke to mix with it.

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