The wrong-way driver who crashed into an oncoming motorist has pleaded no contest for her role in the 2010 death of an Orangevale newlywed.
On Jan. 27, Theresa Lee Ghersanich entered no contest pleas to charges, including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury and DUI causing injuring with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit.
Ghersanich, 57, also admitted to the special allegation of greater bodily injury in connection to the second and third charges.
Prosecutors argued that Ghersanich was driving drunk on April 7, 2010, 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 Ghersanich’s 1995 Toyota 4Runner ultimately collided with victim Bruce Michael Bone’s Honda.
Bone, 41, of Orangevale, 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 in Jamaica with his bride, Beth.
Bone and his wife were married 19 days before his death.
Ghersanich initially pleaded not guilty to the charges. In early 2011, she was indicted by El Dorado County grand jurors. Immediately following her arraignment on those charges, Ghersanich’s attorney raised questions over his client’s mental competency.
“Before the accident, she had some medical issues regarding her mental competency,” attorney John Paul Brennan told the Mountain Democrat in 2010. “They are either worse now or just more noticeable in a courtroom setting, due to the complex nature of the proceedings.”
Criminal proceedings were suspended against Ghersanich in May 2011 when she was deemed mentally incompetent. She was transported to a state hospital for treatment and was declared mentally fit for trial near the end of last year.
Ghersanich faces a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison for the manslaughter charge.
She is set to return to court on Feb. 22 for sentencing.
E-mail Jim Ratajczak at email@example.com.