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Child killed in Temecula crash, mother arrested on suspicion of DUI

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Pray It No Photography
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Flickr Creative Commons
Cars driving through the City of Temecula.

A mother accused of driving drunk with three children in her car, leading to the death of an 8-year-old, was arrested on Monday by the California Highway Patrol.

TEMECULA (CNS) - According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the collision happened at 6:20 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of State Route 79 and Anza Road. Investigators said Jessica Nieto, 33, of Temecula, was behind the wheel of a 2011 Honda Pilot that was heading west on the two-lane highway when it drifted to the right and into the dirt shoulder.

Nieto attempted to pull the SUV back onto the roadway but over-corrected, sending the vehicle into the opposing lane, according to the CHP. The Pilot then collided with an eastbound 2011 Chevrolet Silverado that was going between 55 and 60 mph. Investigators said an 8-year-old girl in the Pilot was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 12-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl in the Honda suffered major injuries and were taken to Riverside County Regional Medical Center. Nieto was taken to Inland Valley Medical Center with major injuries.

Three Thermal residents in the Silverado were also injured and taken to Inland Valley Medical Center. The driver, Benjamin Mauldin, 46, and a 43-year-old woman suffered major injuries, while a 12-year-old girl suffered minor injuries, the CHP reported.

According to the CHP, Nieto was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI, child endangerment and gross vehicular manslaughter. There was no record yet of Nieto being booked into Riverside County jail. Although she likely remains hospitalized, the extent of her injuries is unknown.

Jonathan Linden is a reporter at 91.9 KVCR in San Bernardino, California. He joined KVCR in July 2021 and had previously interned for the station in the Spring of 2019. Outside of KVCR, Jonathan also interned for KALW in San Francisco, KFI in Burbank, and Radio HCJB in Quito, Ecuador.
City News Service (CNS) is the U.S.'s largest regional news service and a source for up-to-the-minute news across Southern California, 24 hours every day, seven days a week.