MANTECA (CBS13) — The driver accused of killing a teen and injuring three others while she reached for her cellphone appeared before a judge for the first time on Tuesday.

Mia Aguiar, 19, was released from court after she promised the judge she would return to face felony charges of vehicular manslaughter and gross negligence.

She was arrested on Saturday in the death of 14-year-old Zachariah Gomez. Investigators say Aguiar reached for her cellphone while driving, which caused her to veer into four teens who were walking along Yosemite Avenue in Manteca.

People were seen stopping by Aguiar’s Stockton home to check on the accused teen, but none of them wanted to talk to CBS13.

“She’s having a really difficult time. I spent a couple of hours with her this morning, and she is emotionally distraught,” her attorney Gail Somera said. “These are cases that will obviously haunt her and her family, not to discredit anything for the family who lost their child.”

Neighbors reacted to her release from jail.

“That’s manslaughter, she should pay,” said Harry Thompson. “She should pay the price like anybody else that goes out and kills somebody.”

Somera says the penalties she’s facing are stiff, and they still need to evaluate what was happening right before the crash.

“This is 1 a.m. There are four people walking in somewhat of a country area at 1 a.m.,” he said. “It’s not their fault, but is this a prison type of case or a jail case? I certainly don’t see that at this point.”

A friend of the Gomez’s family says they are not interested in speaking to CBS13, because we are told they may be under investigation by Child Protective Services. We reached out to investigators, but have not heard back yet.

Three teens walking with the 14-year-old were also injured. We’re told at least one of them is still in the hospital.


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