Woman, 92, charged in fatal traffic incident in La Jolla
A 92-year-old woman has been charged with vehicular manslaughter in a La Jolla crash that killed an executive with the San Diego Chamber of Commerce.
Mary Catherine O’Neil was charged by the San Diego city attorney in the Oct. 7, 2014, death of Melissa Bonney Ratcliff, 45, who was vice president for marketing and events at the chamber.
City Atty. Jan Goldsmith said he is not seeking jail time for O’Neil but wants her to surrender her driver’s license, agree to never drive again and make restitution to Ratcliff’s family.
Along with the vehicular manslaughter charge, O’Neil, who lives in a retirement home, is charged with making an unlawful backing movement with her car.
“While her age may make her unsuitable for jail time, it does not relieve her of responsibility for her decisions,” Goldsmith said as the charges were filed this week.
According to court documents, O’Neil was backing her car out of a diagonal parking space and struck Ratcliff, who was standing near her car. O’Neil was not looking in her rearview mirror, prosecutors allege.
Ratcliff once served as deputy communications director for then-Vice President Al Gore and also as spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee and director of communications for the Broad Education Foundation in Los Angeles.
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