Woman accused of murder in wrong-way crash has mental health assessed

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Criminal proceedings in the case of a local woman facing several serious criminal charges, including murder in connection with a fatal traffic collision six months ago, have been suspended while her mental health is assessed.

Santa Clarita Valley Nicole Danielle Thibault, 28, appeared Wednesday in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles Superior Court to set a date for her preliminary hearing when her lawyer expressed concerns about her mental health.

“The defense declared a doubt as to her mental ability to assist in her own defense,” Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, said Thursday.

“The criminal proceedings were suspended and the case was transferred to Department 95,” he said.

Department 95 deals specifically with cases involving questions of mental competency, according to documents published by the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County.

Thibault has been scheduled to appear back in court Aug. 9 for an update on her case and a review of her “mental health court status report,” Santiago said.

For two consecutive months, Thibault appeared in court to set a date for her preliminary hearing only to have that date pushed back each time. During a preliminary hearing, prosecutors will present evidence in the case, and the defense can respond, after which the judge will decide if the case should go to trial.

Thibault is charged with murder, attempted murder and assault connected to allegations that she stole a pickup truck and crashed it on the 210 Freeway, killing a Fontana man and injuring others.

In April, Thibault entered a plea of not guilty to 14 felony counts in relation to the wrong-way crash.

In their felony complaint filed against her, prosecutors allege she murdered Fontana resident Daniel Castillo.

They also allege she attempted to murder six women and that she assaulted each of those women with a weapon, specifically, a silver-colored 2011 Ford F-150 Raptor pickup truck.

They also allege Thibault committed an act of grand theft auto when she stole the pickup truck.

In their felony complaint, prosecutors recommended that Thibault’s bail remain set at $8 million.

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