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Preliminary hearing begins in deadly July 4 crash

Posted: August 16, 2011 1:48 p.m.
Updated: August 16, 2011 1:48 p.m.

SAN FERNANDO - Video footage of a car slamming into a crowd of people watching the Fourth of July fireworks show in 2010 was shown today at the preliminary hearing of a young woman charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Melissa Brigette Brown appeared in San Fernando Superior Court for the first day of her preliminary hearing.

Assistant District Attorney Richard Quinones questioned three of at least five witnesses scheduled to testify at the hearing today.

He introduced into evidence a home video shot by John Lurie taken July 4, 2010, as he stood with his family on Valencia Boulevard near Islands Restaurant facing the Westfield Valencia Town Center Mall.

"I heard a horn. I heard a collision and tires screeching," Lurie told the court. "I saw a car out of control coming toward me. I heard the crash of the car against people."

Brown is charged in connection with the death of a Matilda JuaGarnica Juarez, a Newhall mother of three.

Garnica was among hundreds of spectators watching the fireworks grand finale when she was crushed by a car that collided with another and went into the crowd on the sidewalks of Valencia Boulevard.



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