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Woman whose SUV flipped on O.C. freeway, killing 3, faces charges

October 1, 2012 | 10:07 am

A Downey woman will appear in a Fullerton courtroom Monday in connection with charges that she killed three passengers in her SUV when she lost control of the vehicle.

Ruth Nava Torres, 43, is charged with three misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence and faces a maximum sentence of three years in jail.

Nava Torres was involved in the deadly 2011 nighttime collision after leaving a Crystal Cathedral church service.

Prosecutors claim she was driving at a "high rate of speed as she exited the Interstate 5 freeway on the Beach Boulevard off-ramp" from the northbound side.

They allege Nava Torres lost control of the SUV, which caused it to roll across the guardrail and onto a ramp before coming to a stop in an empty lot, where it caught fire. A bystander rescued her from the burning vehicle.

Nava Torres and a 17-year-old female passenger were taken to UC Irvine Medical Center with severe injuries.

But Vanessa Torres, 24, Angela Prado, 49, and Sara Flores, 40, all of Downey, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Nava Torres was released on her own recognizance over the objection of prosecutors at a July court appearance.

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--Richard Winton

Follow Richard Winton (@LACrimes) on Twitter and Google+

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