Selma woman pleaded not guilty in fatal DUI crash
FRESNO, Calif. -- A 23-year-old Selma woman pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in an alleged drunk driving crash that killed two of her friends.
Stephanie Soza quietly cried as her defense attorney entered pleas of not guilty to the four charges against her. Soza's mustang was mangled after CHP officers say she drove off a cliff on Highway 180 and crashed into a tree near Kings Canyon National Park. Pieces of the car are still at the scene, alongside a beer can that may help explain why Soza drove off the curvy road.
Investigators say Soza was driving drunk with three passengers, including 19-year-old Zack Bardone and 21-year-old Josh Paramore, who both died. CHP officers say neither of the young men was wearing a seat belt. The impact of the crash threw both of them into the car's windshield.
Action News spoke briefly to Bardone's grandmother Wednesday. She told us she worked with all four of the car's occupants at the Grant Grove Restaurant inside Kings Canyon National Park, but she was too grief-stricken to say much else.
For Soza, it's the first time she's ever faced criminal charges, but she could face eight years in prison if she's found responsible for the deaths of Bardone and Paramore. She's due back in court in two weeks.
local, corin hoggard
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