Woman charged with vehicular manslaughter in death of Ocean Beach man
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 11/05/18 - 04:07 PM | 1602 views | 1 1 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A woman surrendered on Nov. 2 in court after being charged with murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the death of an Ocean Beach man.

Lauren Ashley Freeman, 23, was handcuffed by a sheriff’s deputy after she pleaded not guilty to all charges in the Feb. 26 death of Justin Callahan, 35.

The California Highway Patrol reversed their earlier finding that Callahan had driven the wrong way on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and got onto a transition ramp the wrong way.

Callahan’s family had insisted for months the CHP had gotten it wrong and now the CHP blames Freeman for causing the crash at 1:55 a.m. by driving the wrong way on a ramp between Interstate 8 and I-5.

Callahan’s brother, Tommy Villafranca, gave interviews in which he said his brother clocked out at 1:30 a.m. at his job in Chula Vista and was returning to his Ocean Beach home.

Deputy District Attorney Laura Evans told San Diego Superior Court Judge Maureen Hallahan that Freeman’s blood/alcohol level was .28, which is three times the legal limit.

“She put the entire community at risk,” said Evans, who noted a passenger in Freeman’s car suffered moderate injuries.

Evans said Freeman previously worked as a server at an East County casino and she was taught a course about serving alcoholic drinks. Evans added that Freeman had a relationship with someone who was later charged with DUI.

Evans asked for bail being set at $1 million, while her attorney asked for $500,000 bail. Hallahan set it at $1 million, and she remains in the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility.

A bail review was to be held Nov. 7 and a preliminary hearing was set for Nov. 15. She is from Santee.

If Freeman has a trial, a jury may have to decide whether she committed second-degree murder or gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

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Robert Burns
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November 06, 2018
I hope that the C.H.P. apologized for its ineptitude. I'd require the offending officers to do a week's duty unpaid pulling slow cars out of the fast lanes on freeways.
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