Vehicular homicide charges have been dropped against a Farmington, N.M., woman after she spent nearly six months in the Montezuma County jail awaiting trial.
Colorado State Patrol Trooper Jonathan Silver confirmed this week that Janeen Black, 26, was wrongly charged with vehicular homicide, assault and DUI stemming from a fiery head-on collision on the 6800 block of County Road G on Dec. 13.
Black was arrested Dec. 18 and held on a $25,000 bond. She was released from jail about June 20.
Three days later, prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Rowena Yanito, 33, of Bluff, Utah. A mother of three, Rowena was arrested on July 13 and charged with vehicular homicide, assault and DUI. She is in custody under a $75,000 bond.
At an arraignment on Sept. 10, Rowena pleaded not guilty to 12 charges. A trial was set for Jan. 4.
A State Patrol accident analysis revealed that a westbound Chrysler Pacifica was traveling at least 80 mph when it crossed a double yellow line in a curve and hit an eastbound Nissan Sentra head-on about 5:15 p.m. on Dec. 13. Yvonne Padilla, 40, and Gerald Padilla, 36, died as a result of the collision. Three others were seriously injured.
On June 18, court records reveal that a witness told investigators that he and another man pulled Rowena from the driver’s seat of her burning car. According to a toxicology report, Rowena was more than three times over the legal limit when tested for alcohol two hours after the crash. A charred keg of beer was found inside Rowena’s burned-out Pacifica.
An email seeking comment from District Attorney Will Furse wasn’t returned.