Crime

Alleged DUI driver faces murder charge in crash that killed Santa Maria woman

California Highway Patrol officer examines the wreckage of a vehicle involved in a fatal head-on collision the night of Oct. 13 near Lompoc.
California Highway Patrol officer examines the wreckage of a vehicle involved in a fatal head-on collision the night of Oct. 13 near Lompoc.

A woman now faces a murder charge for allegedly driving while under the influence of alcohol and methamphetamine, causing a crash that killed a Santa Maria woman west of Lompoc in October.

Spring Morrissey, 32, of Lompoc appeared in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Friday before Judge Rogelio Flores.

Initially, Morrissey was charged with vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with gross negligence after she crashed head-on with another vehicle on West Ocean Avenue, or Highway 246, near Douglass Avenue on Oct. 13. She was allegedly driving in the wrong lane on the two-lane road.

The driver of the other car in the collision, Victoria Levinson, 62, of Santa Maria, died several hours later at a local hospital.

Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Savrnoch said she filed an amended complaint against Morrissey to add the manslaughter charge.

Morrissey also faces charges of driving under the influence causing injury with a special allegation of causing great bodily injury and driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood-alcohol level above 0.08 percent.

In addition to having methamphetamine in her system, Morrissey reportedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.17 the night of the crash, according to the criminal complaint.

Morrissey, who is represented by Deputy Public Defender Sara Elturk, has not yet entered a plea to the charges.

She was ordered to return to court April 7 for a further arraignment hearing.

During Friday’s brief hearing, the judge boosted Morrissey’s bail to $1 million, double the original amount.

After twice being released from jail, Morrissey has been in custody since early March because of a positive drug test.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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