A woman convicted of a crash that killed her teenage sister and released on parole less than a month ago made her first court appearance Monday in San Joaquin County after she reportedly led police in a chase in Stockton last week.
Obdulia Sanchez, 20, appeared in a Stockton courtroom in an orange jail inmate jumpsuit. Her arraignment was postponed until Nov. 6.
The chase on Thursday ended when Sanchez crashed the 2005 Buick LaCrosse she was driving near Interstate 5, according to the Stockton Police Department. Officials say Sanchez was driving the car, and a male exited the Buick from the front passenger seat. The passenger ran from the crash across, at least, the freeway’s southbound lanes.
Sanchez was arrested at the scene, and officers found a loaded .45 caliber handgun in the glove compartment and a substance believed to be marijuana on the front passenger floorboard.
Sanchez, 20, of Stockton, is charged with evading police with “wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property,” being a felon in possession of a gun, unlawfully carrying a concealed and loaded gun in a vehicle, unlawfully possessing ammunition and driving with a suspended license, according to a criminal complaint filed by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.
Sanchez had gained notoriety two years ago when she livestreamed the crash that killed her sister and injured her sister’s friend near Los Banos.
Deputy District Attorney Frank Kooger asked the judge to keep Sanchez in custody without bail as she awaits prosecution. Kooger said Sanchez allegedly sped away from police, faces serious charges and should be considered a risk to skip bail.
Angela Johnson, Sanchez’s attorney, told the judge that she wasn’t going to object to the prosecutor’s request, at this time. The defense can ask the court to review Sanchez’s bail at a later date. But she asked the judge to postpone the arraignment.
San Joaquin Superior Court Judge Ronald Northup set Sanchez’s bail at $300,000. He said it’s the typical bail amount for these charges, and he felt it was appropriate in this case. He also agreed to postpone the arraignment until next month.
Nicandro Sanchez, the defendant’s father, attended Monday’s court hearing. He said he does not know what happened on the night his daughter was arrested last week. He said he warned her about driving with a suspended license, but she told him she was giving someone a ride.
“That’s why she ran away,” he explained about the police chase while speaking to a group of news reporters in the courthouse hallway after the hearing.
He said he was hurt when he heard his daughter had been arrested again, but he needs to help her. He said she had been working since her prison release, but he thinks she got involved with someone she shouldn’t have.
“I was surprised, because she shouldn’t have done what she did,” the father said in Spanish.
About 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Stockton police officers tried pulling over the car Sanchez was driving for a suspected traffic violation in the area of Rosemarie Lane and Piccardo Circle, near the Stockton Civic Theater.
Prosecutors said the Buick had an expired vehicle registration. They said the car initially slowed and yielded to the right, before it sped away and the chase began. During the pursuit, the Buick ran two stop signs and a stop light.
Police say Sanchez failed to negotiate a turn and lost control of the Buick that went off the road near the March Lane on-ramp to Interstate 5. The police chase ended several blocks away from where the pursuit began.
The DA’s office also alleges that Sanchez has a previous conviction that’s considered a strike under the state’s “Three Strikes” law. That conviction stems from the crash that killed her sister two years ago.
Sanchez, who was 18 at the time, recorded a string of viral Instagram livestream videos before, during and after the Merced County crash that killed her sister, Jacqueline Sanchez, a 14-year-old Stockton girl. Her sister’s friend, Manuela Ceja, was injured in the July 21, 2017, wreck just north of Los Banos.
The recorded livestream videos show Sanchez making a cellphone video while driving, when the car flipped. The graphic video then goes to the immediate aftermath, when Sanchez attempts to revive her sister, telling her to wake up and saying she killed her sister and was “going to jail.”
Sanchez was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol and manslaughter charges for the crash that killed her sister. Her blood alcohol content was 0.106 about 90 minutes after the crash, more than the legal limit of 0.08, according to court records.
She was sentenced to six years and four months in prison. She would have been eligible for parole in September 2020. But Sanchez was released from prison Sept. 21, about a year early, after receiving conduct or educational credits while in prison, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has told The Merced Sun-Star.
Sanchez also entered into the state’s Custody to Community Transitional Reentry Program in November 2018. The program, prison officials said, allows eligible offenders with serious and violent crimes to serve their sentences outside prison and in the community.
The prison officials said Sanchez was monitored and expected to show good behavior, and she was “only allowed into the community once (she earned) the privilege, such as for going to work or school.”