Manslaughter suspect indicted by grand jury

By From page A1 | April 10, 2011

The case of manslaughter suspect Theresa Lee Ghersanich took a new turn Friday when an El Dorado County judge announced she had been indicted by a grand jury.

Ghersanich, 55, was present in Placerville’s Main Street El Dorado County Courthouse when Superior Court Judge James R. Wagoner told the court that the county grand jury had indicted her on several charges, including manslaughter and DUI causing injury.

The indictment, received by the court earlier this week, comes several months after criminal proceedings against Ghersanich were suspended after the court received a mental evaluation from expert Dr. Charles Schaffer.

Schaffer, who also evaluated suspected kidnapper Phillip Garrido and declared him mentally incompetent, deemed Ghersanich unfit for trial.

Prior to the indictment’s announcement, attorneys in the case were preparing for a mental competency jury trial, set to begin April 19.

But with Friday’s revelation, Ghersanich now faces a new set of criminal charges, including manslaughter, DUI causing injury and DUI causing injury with a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent.

After a brief conference in the judge’s chambers, an arraignment date of April 15 was set.

Judge Wagoner, “in the most direst of terms,” told Ghersanich she would be required to attend her arraignment.

On April 7, 2010, Ghersanich was allegedly driving drunk when she took the wrong entrance onto Highway 50 near Cameron Park, traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes.

Authorities said several vehicles were able to avoid Ghersanich as she drove into oncoming traffic.

But shortly before the Red Hawk Casino exit, Ghersanich’s 1995 Toyota 4Runner collided with victim Bruce Bone’s Honda.

Bone was killed in the crash.

Ghersanich was airlifted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center and was treated for major injuries.

California Highway Patrol officials said 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 returning from a honeymoon with his bride.

The two were married 18 days before Bone’s death.

Ghersanich is currently free on bail.

E-mail Jim Ratajczak at [email protected] or call 530-344-5069.

Jim Ratajczak

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