VAN NUYS ( — A 24-year-old man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to driving under the influence when he slammed his car into a light pole in Van Nuys and killed his girlfriend, who was riding in the passenger seat.

Edward Lamont Powe III has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter.

Shortly after midnight Dec. 30, Powe was speeding near Roscoe Boulevard and Hayvenhurt Avenue when he lost control of his Ford Focus, according to police.

Powe and 19-year-old Jennifer Benga were trapped inside the vehicle and had to be extricated by firefighters.

Benga was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers say they saw beer bottles in the car and prosecutors allege Powe was intoxicated.

Powe is being held on $100,000 bail.

RELATED STORY: Passenger Killed When Suspected Drunken Driver Slams Into Light Post

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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