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Driver Who Was Under the Influence of LSD Gets 7 Years in Death of Pregnant Woman

November 28, 1990|JANET RAE-DUPREE

A 19-year-old woman who killed a pregnant Manhattan Beach woman and her fetus while driving under the influence of LSD was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in state prison.

Heather Tolles, who will serve her time in a California Youth Authority facility, sobbed quietly during an emotional hearing in Torrance Superior Court.

Tolles, a secretary from South Pasadena, has been in custody since May 5, when she drove her speeding sports car into a Manhattan Beach intersection and collided with a car driven by Laura Obele, 26, who was nine months pregnant. The accident also seriously injured a bystander, Elena Duarte of Palo Alto.

"As I stood before my daughter after she was dead and I saw she was so mutilated there was nothing left to look at . . . I wondered if you had seen her, if you had been made to look at what you had done," Obele's mother, Beverly Chapman, said before sentencing.

At least 30 friends and relatives of Tolles wrote to Judge William Hollingsworth urging him to be lenient toward a girl they said had always been conscientious.

But Hollingsworth said the probation report, which described Tolles' use of marijuana, crystal methamphetamines and one prior use of LSD, showed she had become "a part of the drug culture."

"I have great sympathy for the relatives of the victim," Hollingsworth said. "I don't have that kind of sympathy for Miss Tolles."

Tolles, who pleaded guilty in September to vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs, had faced as much as 11 years, 8 months in prison.

"I know the pain I've put so many people through," said Tolles, sobbing and gazing at the victim's husband, Mitch . "All I can say is, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry."

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