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Woman charged with deadly collision near Pala Casino to be retried in October

VISTA – An Oct. 25 retrial was set today for a woman charged with driving under the influence and causing a head-on collision that killed two couples near the Pala Casino nearly three years ago.

A mistrial was declared in Deanna Fridley's first trial last month when a lone female juror wasn't convinced Fridley was the driver of the GMC Yukon that crossed a double-yellow line and crashed into a car carrying Luis De Santiago and his wife, Lina, and Luis Baez and his spouse, Rubi.

Fridley is charged with four counts of murder, DUI causing injury and a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license.

She faces four 15-year-to-life prison terms if convicted.

Prosecutor Brenda Daly said Fridley spent part of Dec. 14, 2007, drinking and smoking methamphetamine with her best friend, Amber Arviso, who herself was responsible for injuring several people in an alcohol-related collision about a month earlier.

Daly said the women were joined by a man named Anthony Boles, and Arviso was later left behind after an argument.

Fridley and Boles were returning to pick up Arviso when the crash happened just before midnight on a curve on state Route 76, about three miles from the casino.

The two couples were on their way home from a night of gambling when Luis De Santiago's Toyota Camry was struck head-on by Fridley's SUV.

Fridley and Boles were pulled from the flaming Yukon and hospitalized with broken bones. Her blood-alcohol level was .12 percent, and she tested positive for meth, the prosecutor said.

Defense attorney James Boyd said his client was not driving the Yukon when the accident happened.

Fridley, 26, testified that she drove her SUV around much of the day, but switched seats with Boles after realizing she was too ''messed up'' to drive.

Boles testified that he was not driving when the crash occurred.


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