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Woman Pleads Not Guilty in Hit-and-Run Death by USC Student

Los Angeles Wave, News Report, Posted: Apr 09, 2009

LOS ANGELES -- A 30-year-old woman suspected of being the hit-and-run driver who killed one USC student and seriously injured another was charged Monday with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.

Claudia Cabrera, who was arrested Thursday at her home and is being held in lieu of $1 million bail, pleaded not guilty to the charges in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. She is due back in court May 4, when a date will be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require her to stand trial.

She is suspected of being the driver who struck and killed 18-year-old Adrianna Bachan and injured 19-year-old Marcus Garfinkle at about 3 a.m. March 29. The pair were struck as they crossed Jefferson Boulevard at Hoover Street. Police said the driver of the car that struck them ran a red light.

Garfinkle remains hospitalized in serious condition with two broken legs and other injuries. After the car hit Garfinkle, the driver stopped long enough for a passenger to pull the student off the hood.

Police said they believe that passenger was Cabreras husband, 31-year- old Josue Luna, who is still being sought. Police are also still looking for the couples vehicle, a green 2000 Infiniti four-door sedan with California license plate 6DUG665. Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said the vehicle likely has some front-end damage, but the windshield has already been repaired.

Luna was described as 5-feet-9-inches tall, 245 pounds with a stocky build and shaved head. McDonnell said neither Cabrera nor Luna were affiliated in anyway with USC. He also said Cabrera was driving on a suspended license.

The couples 7-month-old son was also in the vehicle at the time, police said.

If convicted, Cabrera faces up to eight years in prison, according to the District Attorneys Office. Police said reward offers totaling $235,000 prompted a series of tips that led them to Cabrera. They said they hope the offer helps lead them to Luna and the couples car.

Meanwhile, memorial services for Bachan will be held Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesdays service will be at 7 p.m. at St. Anthonys Croatian Catholic Church, 712 Grand Ave., Los Angeles. On Wednesday, a service will be held at 1 p.m. at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, 1300 E. Valley Road, Santa Barbara.

In lieu of flowers, the family requested that people make donations to the Adrianna Bachan Memorial Fund, c/o West End Partners, 1482 E. Valley Road, suite 245, Santa Barbara, 93108.

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