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Driver Denies Guilt in Death of Jiselle Brando

From Associated Press

A man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony charges in the hit-and-run death of actor Marlon Brando’s daughter-in-law.

Jiselle Honore Brando, 29, of Buena Park was killed June 2 on the Santa Ana Freeway in the City of Commerce.

Dennis Alberto Vanegas, 34, of Norwalk entered his plea in Los Angeles County Superior Court. He was charged with felony hit and run and drunk driving. An Oct. 1 pretrial hearing was set.

Jiselle Brando was the wife of Brando’s son Miko.

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Two other people in the car, Willie Lee Jefferson, 22, and Paul Tatin, 30, were injured.

The three were driving on the freeway about 3 a.m. when an argument broke out between the men, Deputy Dist. Atty. Paul Bronstein said.

They pulled over to the side of the freeway, got out of the car and fought over who would drive. The fight spilled over to traffic lanes and Jiselle Brando tried to intervene, Bronstein said.

A pickup truck hit at least one of the three, throwing them to the pavement, and did not stop.

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A second vehicle, allegedly driven by Vanegas, then hit the trio, dragging Brando 50 feet, Bronstein said.

A license plate fell off one of the vehicles and the California Highway Patrol arrested Vanegas about two hours later. He was given a blood alcohol test. “We are alleging that it was over 0.08,” the legal limit for driving, Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Jordan said.

The driver of the pickup never was located, Bronstein said.


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