Evidence exchanged in vehicular manslaughter case

The Santa Clarita Courthouse. KATHARINE LOTZE/Signal.

The attorney representing a woman charged with vehicular manslaughter in the death of motorcyclist Dale Zack more than a year ago appeared Wednesday at the Santa Clarita Courthouse Wednesday where he received photos and other evidence from prosecutors.

Attorney Peter Swarth, representing 34-year-old Oliva Amayo Mendoza of Palmdale, was given evidence by Deputy District Attorney David Jacobs that included photographs of the fatal crash and an audio recording of the 911 call.

“I received the discovery material I was waiting for,” Swarth told Courtroom 3.

Discovery is a pre-trial procedure in which each party – prosecutors and defense lawyers – can obtain evidence from the other.

Swarth told the court he would need at least 30 days to go through the material.

Judge Robert J. Schuit told both lawyers to return to court June 1.

Mendoza was arrested on Feb.1, almost one year after the fatal crash that claimed the life of  28-year-old Dale Zack.

She was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence following a year-long investigation by traffic detectives at the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

“The vehicular manslaughter stems from a fatal traffic collision that occurred on or about Feb. 11, 2016, at the southbound Highway 14 freeway off ramp for Placerita Canyon Road and Sierra Highway,” Lt. Ignacio Somoano told the Signal in February.

Zack was killed after his vehicle hit a car on Sierra Highway in Newhall, Sgt. Richard Cohen, now retired, told The Signal at the time of the crash.

The motorcyclist was northbound on Sierra Highway approaching the Highway 14 off-ramp at Placerita Canyon Road when his vehicle collided with another.

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