A suspected drunken driver involved in a devastating crash that killed a 22-year-old woman in southwest Bakersfield pleaded not guilty Friday to charges including second-degree murder.
Alex Anthony Rubio, 24, entered his plea before Judge Michael G. Bush in Department 2 of Kern County Superior Court. A few dozen people attended the hearing in his support.
They left the courthouse without comment afterward. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 19.
Rubio is also charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing bodily injury, and hit and run causing death or permanent serious injury. He remains free on $17,000 bond.
He could be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison if convicted of the second-degree murder charge.
Police said Rubio was speeding as he approached the intersection of Ming Avenue and New Stine Road at 3 a.m. Jan. 3. He collided with the vehicle of Princess Flores Almonidovar. She died at the scene.
The crash destroyed Almonidovar’s car. Debris from the collision lay scattered across the roadway. The intersection remained closed for 11 hours as police investigated.
Police said Rubio ran from the crash site and was arrested in a nearby neighborhood. He refused breath and blood tests, and officers obtained a warrant to draw his blood.
Court records show Rubio had a bench warrant out for his arrest after failing to show for a hearing on misdemeanor charges of spousal abuse and petty theft.
He’s scheduled to be in court Jan. 28 for that case.
Almonidovar worked as a respiratory therapist at San Joaquin Community Hospital. She was the primary breadwinner for her family.
More than 1,000 mourners attended her funeral at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Almonidovar was the eldest of three children who emigrated from the Philippines and settled in Bakersfield. She was 11 at the time.
Friends described her as an excellent student and an accomplished chess player. She participated in sports, and played the drums and guitar.
Almonidovar gave up an offer to attend the University of California at Santa Cruz in order to work and provide for her family.