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Alleged drunken driver pleads not guilty

Marjorie Reitzell charged with felonies in death of Menlo Park couple

A woman accused of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence pleaded not guilty in San Mateo County Superior Court on Tuesday (Nov. 12).


Marjorie Reitzell pleaded not guilty on Nov. 12 to charges related to the deaths of a Menlo Park couple. (Photo courtesy of San Mateo County Sheriff)
Marjorie Ann Reitzell, 54, of Redwood City was arrested on two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and two counts of felony driving under the influence in connection with an accident on Oct. 24 that killed a Menlo Park couple out walking their dog.

A preliminary screen showed that her blood alcohol on Oct. 24 was more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Convicted of a misdemeanor DUI in November 2012, she had a valid driver's license at the time of the fatal collision, according to law enforcement officials.

Balbir Singh, 50, and Kamal Kaur Singh, 45, were walking their Chihuahua in the bike lane eastbound on Chilco Street, west of Constitution Drive, at around 6:50 p.m. when they were hit from behind by a 1998 Honda Accord driven by Ms. Reitzell, according to police.

Investigators said the Honda kept going, over the center median and into the westbound lane. It hit another car, causing minor damage but not injuring four passengers. The Honda then collided with a tree before finally stopping.

The Singhs leave behind three teenage children; their oldest daughter plans to start college in January.

Ms. Reitzell was booked into jail and scheduled for arraignment three weeks ago. However, just before court started on Oct. 28, she complained of chest pains and was taken away for medical treatment, according to the District Attorney's Office. The judge continued the arraignment until she was cleared to appear in court.

She remains in custody on $2 million bail. A judge set the preliminary hearing for Jan. 17.

Comments

Posted by pearl, a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Why do people plead not guilty when they've committed a crime. [Portion removed. Please don't use Town Square to comment on the guilt of someone accused of a crime.] Why doesn't she just plead guilty, and save time and trouble and taxpayers' money?!? I will never understand that.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Nov 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Pearl: it would be very unwise for her to plead guilty this early in court proceedings. Pleading not guilty gives her lawyers time to try setting up a plea deal with the DA and to prepare her defense. If she pled guilty right away she would face the maximum penalty of the law right then and there. That probably wouldn't go so well for the defendant. Not the most honorable course of action to some, but likely the one suggested by her lawyers.


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