Novato, CA

Novato woman charged with vehicular manslaughter enters not guilty plea

Author Lori Armstrong

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Keilah Marie Coyle is charged with vehicular manslaughter in crash that killed two Clearlake residents.Photo courtesy Lake County Sheriff's Office

Keilah Marie Coyle, 22, of Novato, California was not in custody, appearing via zoom for a recent arraignment on an information hearing.

Coyle has been charged with two counts of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter while intoxicated, two counts of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter with Vessel while intoxicated, two counts of Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence and two counts of DUI – Alcohol while causing injury.

The charges stem from an incident in March when California Highway Patrol arrived at the scene of a vehicle accident on Highway 29 near Bar X Road north of Middletown.

According to a CHP report, the defendant was driving south in a Ford F-150 truck shortly after 11 p.m. that drifted over Highway 29’s solid double yellow lines, hitting a GMC van head-on that was headed north – killing two Clearlake residents.

Both Cassandra Elaine Rolicheck, 53, and Miguel Maciel Dominguez, 47, of Clearlake, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Coyle was arrested at the scene for allegations of driving under the influence.

During a hearing in March the Court was inclined to refer the issue of bail to the Lake County Probation Department for a Bail Study. Counsel was in agreement with a bail study.

During a Bail Review Hearing in April, Mr. Hodson, counsel for the defendant, declared a doubt as to the defendant’s ability to stand trial. The Court ordered the proceedings suspended and ordered Dr. Taylor Fithian be appointed to evaluate the defendant and prepare a report regarding the defendant’s competency to stand trial.

Upon inquiry, Mr. Hodson advised the Court that the defendant is not contesting a finding of incompetence.

In May, during a Doctor’s Report Hearing, the Court had received, read and considered the Doctor’s Report.

Based upon the evidence, the Court found that the defendant is presently competent to stand trial. Criminal proceedings were ordered reinstated.

The defendant entered a Not Guilty Plea to all counts of the Complaint, denying the special allegations.

During a preliminary hearing last month, witness testimony was heard, and several of the People’s exhibits were presented, such as autopsy reports of both victims, a vehicle inspection report, two factual diagrams of the scene and a Forensic Alcohol analysis, the matter was argued and submitted.

The Court found that the felony violations had been committed and there is sufficient cause to believe that the defendant is guilty, thereof, and ordered she be held to answer to the charges.

The defendant retained attorney Tim S. Hodson as her counsel in March of this year, who was present in court.

During an earlier hearing the Court took up the defendant’s motion to reduce bail and/or release defendant on her signed promise to appear.

A letter of admittance from Salvation Army residential treatment program was received into evidence as Defendant’s Exhibit A.

Mr. Hodson stated the defendant does not have any prior convictions and is low/no risk to public safety if she is in a residential treatment.

The defendant was released on a written promise to appear with condition(s), understanding and accepting the conditional release.

During a Bail Review Hearing in June the defendant requested to be released to a Residential Treatment Program. Mr. Hodson requested the bail review hearing be continued at that time in order to allow time for a program to be identified.

This matter has been set for a settlement/trial readiness conference on January 21, 2022 with a master calendar call set for February 4, 2022. As of now, the jury trial has been set for February 9, 2022 at 8:15 a.m. in a department to be determined.

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I write true-crime stories for the local news, balancing the chaos in my brain by writing children's books. True Story. My latest true-crime novel, When the Puppet Strings Break, is available on the Readict APP with Part 2 in the works. My life balance comes with my 4-part children's book series, The Adventures of Bubbly Jock, which can be found on my website. I absolutely love the brain shift to color and fantasy. Along with writing my books, I also ghostwrite, edit and format books for other authors. One of my first projects was being hired by Michael Jackson's friend who managed his Neverland Ranch during the 1988-1996 era. I composed, Behind the Gates of Neverland, which is still going strong amongst Michael's fans and curious readers who want to know the inside scoop of the extraordinary kindness and humorous side of this misunderstood man.

Kelseyville, CA
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