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Manslaughter charge in Cloverdale crosswalk death

An 83-year-old man has been charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in a July 7 traffic collision in Cloverdale that resulted in the death of a 68-year-old woman who was walking in crosswalk.

Guadalupe Castro Barragan of Cloverdale was booked into the Sonoma County Jail, Cloverdale Police said Wednesday in a brief press release.

His arrest came after a judge Tuesday issued a $100,000 felony warrant in regard to the crash that took the life of Cloverdale resident Maria Ponce.

By Wednesday evening, Barragan was no longer in custody, a jail spokesman said. No further details were available, but Barragan may have been released after posting bail.

Ponce, who had nine children, 33 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren, was hit shortly before 9:30 p.m. at South Cloverdale Boulevard and Healdsburg Avenue, south of the Citrus Fairgrounds. She was taken by ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where she died less than two hours later from her injuries.

Cloverdale police reported in July that Barragan had been driving without wearing corrective lenses as required by his driver's license. Police said he also failed to yield the right-of-way to the pedestrian in a marked crosswalk.

Later in July, about 60 of Ponce's family and friends packed the City Council chambers to urge the elected officials to install more lights and safety features at the crosswalk.

Ponce was the third pedestrian killed in Cloverdale in less than three years, although the other crashes took place during the day at different locations.

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285 or robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com.


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