Despite receiving a bond reduction last week, a Utah woman charged with vehicular homicide remained in custody on Monday.
At a hearing last week, court-appointed attorney Katie Whitney successfully argued for a bond reduction, stating that her client, Rowena Yanito, 33, of Bluff, Utah, needed time-sensitive medical procedures performed. The bond was lowered from $75,000 to $50,000.
Immediately after the announcement by Chief District Court Judge Doug Walker, Yanito threw her head back, staring at the ceiling. She then started to cry, indicating that she would likely remain behind bars at the Montezuma County jail while awaiting trial.
Assistant District Attorney Seam Murray opposed a bond reduction, stating that Yanito was a danger to the community. Family members of the alleged victims also asked the court to maintain the higher bond.
“(Yanito) survived the accident, but my aunt and uncle didn’t,” one woman told Walker.
“She needs to stay in jail and pay for what she did to our family,” another woman said.
Before granting the defense request, Walker explained that bonds served to ensure a defendant’s court appearance and protect the public.
“Bond can’t be used to punish someone,” Walker said.
In his ruling, Walker said that Yanito was presumed innocent, and he had to weigh her medical needs. Walker indicated that he couldn’t lower the bond under $50,000, citing Yanito’s multiple DUI convictions and the severity of the current charges.
If able to post bond, the court ordered that Yanito would only be allowed to leave the state for medical procedures. According to Whitney, Yanito suffered serious injuries as a result of a head-on collision, including a lacerated heart and fractured breastplate.
After prosecutors dropped vehicular homicide charges against a Farmington woman, Yanito was named as the prime suspect. Arrested in July, Yanito is charged with multiple counts of vehicular homicide, assault and DUI stemming from a fiery head-on collision along the 6800 block of County Road G on Dec. 13.
Expected to last seven days, a jury trial is set for Jan. 4.
A Colorado State Patrol accident reconstruction analysis revealed that a westbound Chrysler Pacifica was driving at least 80 mph when it crossed a double yellow line in a curve striking an eastbound Nissan Sentra head-on at 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.
According to a toxicology report, Yanito was more than three times over the legal limit when tested for alcohol two hours after the accident.
According to authorities, a charred keg of beer was found inside Yanito’s burned out Pacifica.