A McKinleyville woman who has been charged with three felonies along with special allegations related to a fatal vehicle-versus-pedestrian collision on Saturday morning will remain in jail following a hearing on Friday afternoon.
Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Timothy Canning denied a motion filed by defense attorney Manny Daskal, who petitioned the court to have 25-year-old Shala Marie Bianco released from jail on supervised release.
Bianco has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI, and DUI causing injury along with three special allegations including fleeing the scene and having a blood alcohol level of .15.
“At this point, the court is very concerned regarding the severity of the charges,” Canning said as he explained his ruling. “Based on the probation report she would otherwise be eligible for release but the court will not authorize the defendant to be released on supervision.”
Daskal had argued to the court that Bianco, a lifelong Humboldt County resident fully employed and the single mother of a 2-year-old boy, has a strong support system with her family and would normally fit the profile for release.
“I understand the nature of the offense,” Daskal said. “I’d suggest to the court supervised release is appropriate. She should be considered for supervised release. What I can tell the court is Ms. Bianco immediately recognized the wrongness of her actions and she understands the gravity of her actions.”
Deputy District Attorney Luke Bernthal represented the people and he asked Canning to deny the release motion and then read from a letter submitted by Deckert’s wife.
” ‘The love of my life was taken by a drunk driver,’ ” read Bernthal. ” ‘Please don’t allow her supervised release.’ “
The charges against Bianco stem from a hit-and-run collision witnessed by other drivers at just before 7:30 Saturday morning.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver of a Toyota Rav4, later identified as Bianco, was headed northbound on Central Avenue in McKinleyville when the vehicle made a turn to the right, striking Deckert, 47. Witnesses told the CHP the Toyota then fled the scene at a high rate of speed. Deckert would later be pronounced dead at the scene.
Bianco surrendered herself to the CHP within two hours and was arrested and booked into county jail.
Bianco appeared in court Friday wearing jail-issued clothing and she could barely maintain her emotions as she made eye contact with family members in the gallery who have been present at her first two hearings.
Bail was set at $180,000 and Bianco will be back in court on July 11 for a preliminary hearing. If convicted, she faces a sentence of up to eight years for the gross vehicular manslaughter charge, while the other charges and the special allegations could add to that total.
Dan Squier can be reached at 707-441-0528.