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Wrong way driving case suspended: Mental tests set in manslaughter case

By October 19, 2010

Democrat staff writer

The criminal proceedings against the woman accused of killing a newlywed Orangevale man in April were suspended Monday.

John Brennan, attorney for Theresa Lee Ghersanich, 55, told visiting judge Eddie T. Keller he doubted his clientÕs mental ability to stand trial.

As a result, the case against Ghersanich was put on hold until her mental competency can be evaluated by a court-appointed professional.

ÒBefore the accident, she had some medical issues regarding her mental competency,Ó explained Brennan. ÒThey are either worse now or just more noticeable in a courtroom setting, due to the complex nature of the proceedings.Ó

Ghersanich is due back in court Dec. 1.

She had been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated after allegedly colliding with and killing Bruce Michael Bone, 41.

On April 7, Ghersanich was allegedly driving drunk when she took the wrong entrance to the freeway near Cameron Park, traveling eastbound in the westbound lane.

Authorities said several vehicles were able to avoid Ghersanich as she drove into oncoming traffic. But shortly before the Red Hawk Casino exit, GhersanichÕs 1995 Toyota 4Runner collided with BoneÕs Honda.

ÒThere was a car in front of (the victim) that moved out of the way, so his vision was obscured by the vehicle,Ó said California Highway Patrol officer Dan Stark. ÒThe first vehicles were able to avoid Ghersanich and he was not.Ó

Bone died in the crash. Ghersanich was airlifted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center and was treated for major injuries.

According to authorities, an intoxicated Ghersanich was driving approximately 45 mph while Bone was traveling 65 mph, making the impact of the collision 110 mph.

Bone was reportedly on his way home from work when he was killed. He had just finished his first day back at the Home Depot in Placerville after a honeymoon with his bride.

The two were married 18 days before BoneÕs death.

Bone worked for the Home Depot for nearly two decades and was remembered by colleagues as being helpful, friendly and thoughtful.

ÒHe was definitely a people person,Ó said Jim Price, who runs the storeÕs contractorsÕ services, in an earlier interview. ÒHe always made you feel welcome and always had a smile on his face.Ó

A tree and gravestone were planted in the storeÕs garden section to commemorate Bone.

Ghersanich is currently free on $500,000 bail.

E-mail Jim Ratajczak at [email protected] or call 530-344-5071.

Jim Ratajczak

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