Sarai Valentina Olvera
Sarai Valentina Olvera. Courtesy GoFundMe

A 20-year-old man who allegedly drove drunk and crashed his car at high speeds into a lamppost in Coronado, killing one of his passengers, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that include gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Erwin Mejia Ramos is accused in Friday’s crash that killed his backseat passenger, 26-year-old Sarai Valentina Olvera, and injured another woman in the car.

The crash happened around 12:30 a.m. in the 1100 block of Orange Avenue, killing Olvera “instantly,” according to Deputy District Attorney Amy Colby. Police said Ramos’ other passenger, a 20-year-old woman in the front passenger seat, was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

According to the prosecutor, Ramos and his passengers traveled from Riverside to San Diego County, where they consumed alcohol at La Jolla Cove before traveling to Coronado.

Once there, Colby said Ramos was driving at speeds of 60 to 80 mph “by his own estimation” in a 25 mph zone.

The prosecutor said Ramos’ blood-alcohol content on the night of the crash has not been officially confirmed, but she said it was over .15%, which is about twice the legal driving limit in California.

Though Ramos has no criminal convictions on his record, Colby said he was arrested in May in Riverside County on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

Ramos was ordered held without bail at Tuesday’s arraignment and faces nearly 11 years in state prison if convicted of all charges.

According to a GoFundMe page created in support of the victim’s family, Olvera leaves behind a daughter, four siblings and her parents. The donation page can be viewed at www.gofundme.com/f/in-loving-memory-of-sarai-valentina-olvera.

City News Service contributed to this article.


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Ellen Bullock