Kimberly Kreis, arrested in April after a deadly car crash on Highway 101, pleaded not guilty Thursday to multiple charges including felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor driving under the influence. She appeared in court out of custody. Kreis faced the possibility of much more serious counts, but the District Attorney’s Office decided last month not to charge her with vehicle manslaughter because authorities were unsure they could prove she was criminally liable for the deaths in the incident.
In the middle of the night on April 21, Kreis slammed into a Mazda that a few minutes earlier had hit the highway’s guardrail and flipped onto its roof. Inside the Mazda were four people returning home to Los Angeles: Erik August, 20, Danielle Murillo, 20, Brian Lopez, 17, and Jessica Leffew, 17. August, the driver, was the only one to survive. He sustained severe injuries. The three passengers were pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities believe August fell asleep at the wheel and found no indication he was driving impaired.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Arnie Tolks is handling the case. Private attorney Bob Sanger is representing Kreis.