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Woman to face trial in gruesome crash where body wound up in passenger seat

Esteysi Sanchez cries during her preliminary hearing at the San Diego County courthouse in Vista.
Esteysi Sanchez cries during her preliminary hearing at the San Diego County courthouse in Vista.
(Bill Wechter / San Diego Union-Tribune)

An Oceanside woman who plowed into a homeless man — and drove for a mile with his body lodged in her passenger seat — will face trial for second-degree murder and other charges, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Esteysi “Stacy” Sanchez faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted.

Following a preliminary hearing at the San Diego County courthouse in Vista that lasted more than two days, Superior Court Judge Blaine Bowman found enough evidence to order Sanchez, 30, to face trial.

According to authorities, Sanchez was driving east on Mission Avenue in Oceanside around 6:20 a.m. on June 27 when her car struck and killed 69-year-old Jack Ray Tenhulzen.

The impact sent the man through the car’s front windshield and into the passenger seat. One of his legs was severed near the foot.

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Sanchez eventually stopped the car in the middle of the street and got out in a state of panic, screaming, “help me,” one witness said. She walked the remaining block or so to her home.

Before the crash, Sanchez had been drinking at a club and with friends at a small after-party, witnesses testified.

Prosecutor Robert Bruce argued that warnings from Sanchez’s friends that she not drive, as well as her actions after the crash, showed conscious disregard for human life — a factor needed to prove second-degree murder.

Sanchez, who authorities suspect is in the country illegally, is being held on $1.5-million bail and is due back in court on Jan. 11.

teri.figueroa@sduniontribune.com

Figueroa writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.


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