A jury trial has been set for a woman charged with the death of two people from Utah after a fiery head-on collision in December.
At a brief arraignment hearing on Thursday, May 7, Janeen Black, 26, appeared in custody on four counts of vehicular homicide, six counts of vehicular assault, DUI and compulsory insurance charges in connection to an automobile crash last December.
“Ms. Black is innocent,” said public defender Justin Bogan. “She pleads not guilty.”
After Assistant District Attorney Sean Murray announced that the trial could last up to two weeks, Chief District Court Judge Doug Walker set the trial date for Aug. 31.
Shackled and wearing yellow inmate clothing, Black didn’t speak at Thursday’s hearing. She remains in custody at the Montezuma County jail under a $25,000 bond.
An expert accident reconstruction analysis by the Colorado State Patrol alleges that Black was driving westbound on County Road G in a Chrysler Pacifica at least 80 mph when she crossed a double yellow line in a curve striking an eastbound Nissan Sentra head-on at about 5:15 p.m. on Dec. 13, 2014
As a result of the crash, Yvonne Padilla, 40, and Gerald Padilla, 36, were both killed. Three other victims were seriously injured, including a 15-year-old who suffered a pelvic fracture; a 22-year-old who suffered sternal and rib fractures; and a 28-year-old who suffered a broken leg.
The 28-year-old victim inside the defendant’s vehicle reportedly told authorities that Black “kept swerving all over the road” before the crash. A charred keg of beer was found inside the burned out Pacifica.
Black reportedly admitted to being intoxicated hours after the crash. But at a hearing last month, public defender Kenneth Pace said eyewitness testimony would prove that his client was a passenger in the vehicle, and not the driver.
“The witness on the scene of the accident said the passenger pulled out of the car was wearing pajamas ... clothes were taken off Ms. Black at the hospital when she was being treated for injuries and instead of being bagged as evidence they were given to her family to take home,” Pace argued.