Driver pleads not guilty to charges

  • 12/21/2007: A1: Ryan Karr

    11/8/2007: B1: Ryan Karr

    1/21/2007: A11:

    1/20/2007:A9: Ryan Karr

    PC: The driver of the car that caused the collision, Ryan Karr, 26 of Windsor, left, walks with California HIghway Parol officer Heather Bushey, center and Sonoma Life Support's Janet Doty near the scene of the crash on the northbound lanes of Highway 101 near the Airport exit. (The Press Democrat) / Crista Jeremiason) 1/19/07

A young man charged with causing a fiery crash on Highway 101 near Santa Rosa last year that killed five people pleaded not guilty to 11 charges Thursday, including vehicular manslaughter and cocaine allegations.

In his first court appearance since his Dec. 20 arrest, Ryan Karr, 26, stood by his attorney, Andy Martinez, and quietly answered, ?Yes, sir? to Judge Lawrence Antolini?s questions.

Karr was charged in connection with the Jan. 17 crash in which his Mitsubishi coupe rear-ended a stopped Honda Civic during rush-hour traffic just north of the Airport Boulevard overpass.

Five of the six occupants of the Civic were killed: Maria Lopez Camacho, 54, Fernando Flores Carlos, 7, and Almadelia Mendera-Basurto, 16, Edith Carlos Medina, 23, all of Windsor, and Carmina Solorio, 23, of Mexico. Christian Flores Carlos, then 4, was treated for severe burns and is still recovering.

He is charged with five felony counts of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, five misdemeanor counts of manslaughter without gross negligence and a single count of possessing or using cocaine.

Prosecutor Chuck Arden said the complaint alleges Karr either used or possessed cocaine within 48 hours of the crash, not specifically that he was under the influence at the time.

He wouldn?t comment more specifically on the allegations, saying the specifics of the case would become clearer in future court hearings.

Karr voluntarily submitted a blood sample shortly after the crash, according to the CHP.

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