Simi Valley man due back in court for fatal DUI 

San Fernando Superior Courthouse. Courtesy
San Fernando Superior Courthouse. Courtesy

A Simi Valley man is due back in court next month after pleading not guilty to two felony counts related to a fatal crash Sunday that left a man dead and a woman seriously injured, according to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office. 

Prosecutors alleged that Gary Edgar Palma Sanchez, 30, was under the influence when he crashed into the 2007 Toyota Corolla driven by Victoria Rodriguez, a 33-year-old Newhall woman, at 1:55 a.m. on the northbound lanes of Interstate 5, south of Calgrove Boulevard. 

Rodriguez was taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital with major injuries from the crash, which also claimed the life of 34-year-old Clay Matthew Rodriguez, of Newhall. 

California Highway Patrol investigators said Sanchez failed to recognize that traffic had stopped and his 2016 Nissan Frontier truck slammed Rodriguez’s Corolla into the back of a big rig.  

First responders pronounced Clay Matthew Rodriguez dead at the scene of the crash. 

Sanchez declined to take a blood test from CHP officers, which was ultimately sought through an L.A. County Superior Court warrant and then administered at Henry Mayo. 

Sanchez pleaded not guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage. 

He was arrested and held in lieu of $100,000 bail. He bonded out of jail after his initial court appearance Wednesday, according to LASD custody records available online. 

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