After watching livestream of deadly crash that killed sister, jailed teen can’t believe ‘the way she reacted’
The attorney of a woman accused of driving drunk as she livestreamed a crash that killed her younger sister says she watched the video for the first time Sunday from jail.
“She couldn’t believe that’s the way she reacted after the fact,” Obdulia Sanchez’s attorney, Ramnik Samrao, told the Los Angeles Times. “She could understand why so many people hate her. It was kind of like a lightbulb went off in her head.”
Sanchez also reviewed body camera footage recorded by officers, Samrao said.
The 18-year-old Stockton resident, who is charged with half a dozen criminal offense, including gross vehicular manslaughter in the death of her sister, received international attention after she filmed the moments before and after the July 21 crash on Instagram Live.
The video showed Sanchez behind the wheel of a 2003 Buick while her 14-year-old sister, Jacqueline Sanchez, and a second 14-year-old girl sat in the back seat.
As Sanchez recorded herself, she lost control of her vehicle and crashed north of Los Banos.
After the crash, Sanchez started recording again and panned to the body of her sister, who was lying in the grassy field and appeared to have suffered major head trauma.
Sanchez kissed her sister’s face, then shook her several times and said, “Jacqueline, please wake up.”
“I … killed my sister, OK? I know I am going to jail for life, all right?” Sanchez said. “This is the last thing that I wanted to happen, OK?”
Sanchez was arrested after the crash, which occurred when she swerved off the road and over-corrected her turn, according to the California Highway Patrol.
She then veered across the road and crashed into a wire fence. As the car rolled into a field, the two girls in the rear seat, who were not wearing seat belts, were ejected from the vehicle, the CHP said.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Harold Nutt, who is prosecuting the Merced County case, has said Sanchez’s blood alcohol content was 0.10% at the time of the crash.
He said Sanchez was not paying attention while driving. She was driving erratically and not holding the wheel, he said.
But Samrao, Sanchez’s attorney, said other factors may have led to the crash.
He said the defense is looking into whether there were some issues with the tread on the vehicle’s tires.
Samrao said his client’s vehicle was older and the tread appeared to be worn. One tire was flattened and another broke off from the vehicle during the crash, he said.
“We don’t know how that happened,” Samrao said.
A vehicle collision expert working for the defense will inspect Sanchez’s vehicle and airbag control module this week.
Additional details on the vehicle’s condition and performance before and after the crash could help Samrao determine how the case will move forward, he said.
A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 13 in Merced County.
For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.