SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — A woman charged in connection with an alleged drunken Newport Beach crash that killed a Santa Ana couple and left their three young daughters orphaned continued to be held without bail after appearing in court Tuesday.
The arraignment for Grace Elizabeth Coleman, 22, was postponed again to Jan. 27, 2021 during Tuesday’s hearing.
Coleman, of Newport Beach, is charged with two counts of murder in connection with the Dec. 8 crash on Newport Coast Drive, near the Pelican Hill resort. Henry Eduardo Saldana-Mejia, 27 – who was picking up his last paycheck at the resort — and his wife, 29-year-old Gabriela Andrade, were pronounced dead at the scene. Their young daughters, ages 1, 4, and 5, were also injured in the crash, but the girls have since returned home.
The criminal complaint against Coleman stated that she ran a red light immediately before the crash and had a blood alcohol concentration of more than .20 that night. Coleman allegedly tried to leave the scene on foot before she was caught and arrested.
Coleman apparently did not need to get behind the wheel, according to prosecutors. She was first driven home from a brewery that night, but then got back in her car minutes later before the fatal crash, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office told CBSLA’s Michele Gile.
Breaking: Newport Beach DUI murder suspect Grace Coleman was driven home from brewery night of fatal crash but then got in her car minutes later & allegedly killed couple per DA @cbsla #cbsla #dui pic.twitter.com/SX0YBKHWDU
— michele gile (@CBSmichelegile) December 22, 2020
She was apparently also involved in two different DUI incidents in as many years. Coleman was arrested on Aug. 29 in Laguna Beach and now faces a misdemeanor count of DUI for that arrest. Prosecutors say she also paid for the damage caused by the hit-and-run of a parked car in Laguna Beach in June of 2019, but was not seen behind the wheel in that incident.
Coleman’s attorney requested a $1 million bail for her, but she remains in custody without bail.