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Not-Guilty Plea Given in Crash That Killed 4

November 14, 2000|CAITLIN LIU

A Rosamond man accused of killing four people in a head-on collision in Palmdale pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Shawn Eugene Beavers, 27, also entered not-guilty pleas to two counts of driving under the influence, causing injury, Deputy Dist. Atty. Annette Peterson said. Peterson declined to reveal the nature of Beavers' alleged intoxication but said it didn't involve alcohol.

Beavers was driving a Jeep Cherokee 90 to 100 mph on Sierra Highway near Avenue O-8 on July 13, when he rear-ended a pickup truck and then crashed head-on into a Lexus carrying a physician and four of his co-workers, authorities said.

The crash killed Mark Rittenberg, 52, and his wife, Mary, 41, of Palmdale; Georgina Schmidt, 43, of Lancaster; and Therese Frisch, 38, of Lancaster, a passenger in Beavers' vehicle.

The driver of the Lexus and another passenger were injured.

The Rittenbergs and Schmidt worked together at the High Desert Hemodialysis Center in Palmdale.

If convicted on all counts, Beavers--who had four prior convictions and was on parole at the time of the crash--faces up to 22 years in prison, Peterson said.

After Beavers appeared in Antelope Superior Court in Lancaster, he was returned to Los Angeles County Jail, where he is being held in lieu of $505,000 bail, Peterson said.

Beavers' preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4.

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