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Driver in fatal crash sentenced to 90 days of home confinement

A 21-year-old Santa Rosa woman who failed her driving test multiple times before fatally injuring a Casa Grande High School student in a crash has been sentenced to 90 days of home confinement and probation, prosecutors said Thursday.

Luz Maria Mejia-Perez pleaded no contest on Wednesday to vehicular manslaughter and driving without a license in the Nov. 16, 2009 crash that killed her passenger, Anais Centeno, 17.

Mejia-Perez was driving in Cotati when she made an unsafe left turn in front of an oncoming truck at the intersection of Madrone Avenue and Highway 116. The truck struck the passenger side of her car and Centeno died of injuries a week later.

Mejia-Perez was at the wheel despite the fact that she did not have a valid license and failed the DMV's driving test multiple times, said Christine Cook, a spokeswoman for the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office.

Judge Shelly Averill handed down the sentence, which includes two years' probation, Cook said. Mejia-Perez faced a maximum 18 months in jail, she said.

The crash was one of two at the intersection that has led to ongoing efforts to add safety features to the roadway that has been deemed dangerous.


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