By Jim Shilander
A 46-year-old Dana Point woman was arrested Tuesday more than a year after she allegedly struck and killed a grandmother in a hit-and-run accident on July 4, 2013.
Kelly Michele Wolfe was being held on $1 million bail in the Intake Release Center for Women as of press time Wednesday and was scheduled to be in court Thursday.
A 76-year old woman, Marthann Demchuk of Monrovia, was killed in a hit-and-run incident just south of the intersection of Camino Capistrano and Pacific Coast Highway, near the Shorecliffs Beach Club in San Clemente.
According to the Sheriff’s Department, Demchuk was walking with her 13-year-old grandson northbound along Pacific Coast Highway, in the bicycle lane. The two were struck by a van driven by Wolfe, who allegedly continued driving. A witness followed her to her home, where she was detained by deputies a few minutes after the incident occurred. Wolfe was investigated for both driving under the influence and for hit-and-run at the time but no formal charges were filed until this week.
Demchuk was pronounced dead at the scene. The boy was treated at the scene for minor injuries and not hospitalized. According to the criminal complaint, Wolfe’s blood alcohol content was greater than .15 percent at the time of the incident. The legal limit is .08.
Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, said the length of time between the incident and Wolfe’s arrest was due in part to having to decide what charges to file. The Sheriff’s Department initially brought the case to the DA’s office in November as a potential manslaughter case, but the DA requested additional information, and after a review of the incident, decided to file the case as a homicide.
“It did take a long time,” Emami said. “In these types of cases, it can take time to determine what charge to make.”
Wolfe is expected be formally charged at an arraignment Thursday with second degree murder, felony hit and run and driving under the influence. Second degree murder charges carry a potential penalty of 15 years to life in prison.