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Driver accused of deadly wreck following a police pursuit slapped with more charges


The Lompoc woman accused of a crash that led to the death of another driver on U.S. Highway 101 near Refugio on Oct. 1, 2018, is facing additional charges after a court appearance Tuesday morning.

24-year-old Dinara Arevalo will now face felony violations of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, and felony evading an officer causing death.

These new charges are in addition to charges the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office brought forth against Arevalo on Oct. 4, which included one count of felony evading arrest causing bodily injury and a special allegation of infliction of great bodily injury resulting in a comatose state.

One of the crash victims involved in the crash, Michael D. Garcia, 58, died on Oct. 11, 2018.

Arevalo is scheduled to appear on October 18, 2018, in Lompoc Superior Court.


Authorities confirmed Friday evening that a crash victim involved in a collision with a suspect being chased by police on Oct. 1 in south Santa Barbara County, has died.

Santa Barbara resident Michael D. Garcia, 58, passed away as a result from the injuries he suffered during the collision at the hands of suspect Dinara Arevalo, California Highway Patrol says.

Arevalo, a 24-year-old Lompoc resident, had reportedly escaped from Lompoc Valley Medical Center earlier in the day on Oct. 1, 2018, and a police pursuit began shortly after when she did not stop for Lompoc police officers outside the hospital, according to authorities.

The pursuit eventually ended on southbound U.S. Highway 101 near Refugio State Beach when Arevalo attempted to pass slower moving traffic on the right shoulder but lost control of her Toyota Rav 4 and crashed into a Toyota Tacoma being driven by 60-year-old Brett Bronstad of Santa Barbara sending his vehicle down to the nearby railroad tracks after rolling over, CHP says.

Arevalo’s vehicle overturned as well and came to rest on its roof in the center median of U.S. 101 southbound, CHP says, and she was placed under arrest and taken to the hospital. She did not suffer any injuries in the collision, according to the CHP traffic collision report.

Garcia and Bronstad suffered facial lacerations considered minor injuries, according to the report, but it’s believed Garcia’s health worsened on his road to recovery. CHP says they won’t know the exact cause of Garcia’s death until the Coroner’s Office releases its findings.

Authorities say Garcia was taken off life support shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

Investigators are working with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office on new charges against Arevalo stemming from this incident.

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