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Orange County district attorney weighs manslaughter charges against cop who sped through intersection, killing 2

September 23, 2009 |  5:25 pm

The California Highway Patrol has recommended that prosecutors consider filing manslaughter charges against a La Habra police officer who was responding to an emergency when she sped through a red light and broadsided a car, killing a husband and wife, authorities said Wednesday.

The case was presented to the Orange County district attorney’s office Wednesday by the California Highway Patrol’s Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation team, which recommended filing the charges against La Habra Police Officer Nancy Garcia, according to a police statement.

The CHP took on the investigation at the request of La Habra Police Department. Garcia remains assigned to non-patrol duties.

The fatal crash occurred shortly before 5 p.m. April 5, when Garcia was traveling north on Euclid Street at La Habra Boulevard. Garcia, authorities said at the time, was responding with emergency lights and siren to assist another officer who was in pursuit of a parolee.

Garcia pulled into  the intersection against a red light and struck a Chrysler PT Cruiser. Susanne Antuna, 55, died at the scene. Charles Antuna, 54, died the next day at UCI Medical Center.

The crash became controversial when the daughter of the two victims, Andrea Antuna, disputed reports that the patrol car’s lights and siren were on when it entered the intersection.

CHP investigators said the patrol car entered the intersection with an estimated speed of 62 mph. Officials declined to say whether the investigation concluded whether the emergency lights and siren were on.

--Ruben Vives