Criminal charges including murder were reinstated against a Bakersfield woman Wednesday after doctors submitted a report saying she is now competent to stand trial following a stay in a state hospital. 

Yoanna Aldaz, 24, is accused of driving a minivan while under the influence when she struck and fatally injured a motorcyclist. She ran from the crash scene but was tracked down hours later, according to court documents.

A preliminary hearing in the case was set for May 30 during Wednesday's brief court proceedings, at which Aldaz appeared with Deputy Public Defender Janice Kim. Deputy District Attorney Brad Taconi is assigned to the case.

According to court documents, Aldaz told investigators she smoked marijuana and drank three 24-ounce beers before getting behind the wheel the evening of Aug. 26. 

The documents said she made an unsafe left turn while driving on South Union Avenue and her minivan left the roadway and hit a sign in the center median. It then traveled southeast across the northbound lanes of South Union Avenue directly into the path of motorcyclist Frank Richards, 46.

Richards crashed into the passenger side of the minivan, the documents said. He was pronounced dead at Kern Medical Center an hour later. 

Aldaz and a passenger abandoned the minivan east of the crash and ran, according to the documents. 

Investigators tracked down the passenger, who had recently purchased the minivan, by contacting the previous owner. The passenger then gave authorities Aldaz's address.

Aldaz, whose license was suspended for a previous drunken driving conviction, told investigators she fled because the passenger told her police were on the way, the documents said. 

"Aldaz showed no remorse for the victim but asked about her cellphone several times and stated that she wanted to get on Facebook," an investigator wrote in the documents. 

In February, she was found not competent to stand trial and sent to a state hospital. She's now back in the custody of the Kern County Sheriff's Office. 

(1) comment


This person that murdered my friend needs to be locked up for the rest of her life . She shouldn't even allowed money on her books it should all go to his 2 kids .. this b.s about state hospital is a flat out joke Im not an attorney but I know your little head game your playing . You thought playing the insane card that they will go easy on you . Well it's time for you to pay the Piper .. I hope you have a miserable time in prison and I mean horrible time

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