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Mother charged in 2016 deaths of two young daughters reaches plea agreement

FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2016, file photo, California Highway Patrol officers examine a car after it
California Highway Patrol officers examine a car after it was removed from the Petaluma River following an accident that left two young sisters dead in August 2016.
(Beth Schlanker / Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

The mother of two girls killed in 2016 when the car she was driving plunged into a Northern California river has reached a tentative plea agreement with prosecutors.

Alejandra Hernandez, 27, recently pleaded no contest to two counts of felony gross vehicular manslaughter, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

“She’s accepting responsibility that this wouldn’t have happened if she’d been more careful, if she’d done something differently,” said her attorney, Izaak Schwaiger. “Nothing will make her feel worse than when she crawled out of the car without her children.”

A Sonoma County Superior Court judge will issue a sentence next month when he reviews the terms of the agreement.

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If the judge accepts the agreement, Hernandez will be given credit for the year she has spent confined to her home with an ankle bracelet, and given a five-year probation term.

She will be prohibited from driving during that term, Deputy Dist. Atty. Laura Passaglia said.

The August 2016 fatal crash occurred when Hernandez was headed to Rohnert Park to take her daughters, 7-year-old Sayra Gonzalez and 9-year-old Delilah Gonzalez, to school.

Police and firefighters dove into the water within minutes of the crash and cut the girls free of their seat belts. They were rushed to the hospital but later died.

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By that time Hernandez was charged in September 2017, she was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment for an aggressive form of cervical cancer, which was diagnosed after the crash.

Schwaiger said the treatment appears to have worked, and he’s been told she’s doing well in recovery.

carlos.lozano@latimes.com


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