SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The drunk driver who hit a pregnant woman in Rio Linda last April has been sentenced to six years in prison.
Investigators say Ronnie Ward’s blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit when he crashed into Ciara Villegas, who was six months pregnant at the time. Her baby, RJ, was delivered by an emergency C-section but died days later.
Ward pleaded no contest to three charges including DUI and driving on a suspended license. He was sentenced to three years for the DUI with an enhancement for great bodily injury, adding three more years to his sentence.
He was not charged with vehicular manslaughter, even though the crash killed baby RJ.
California law defines murder as a killing of a human being or a fetus, but for murder, there has to be proven malice or intent. For manslaughter, a killing without malice, the law does not include a fetus, only a human being.
This case would be considered vehicular manslaughter because they could not prove intent. The DA’s office said, “The legislature intentionally failed to include (the term fetus) thus, the death of a fetus is not covered in the definition of vehicular manslaughter.
In other words, Ward would have had to intentionally kill the baby in order to be charged in RJ’s death.