UKIAH, 12/31/19 — Gina Rae Bean and Ricky Santos both pleaded not guilty to charges related to the death of Calum Hunnicutt (AKA Calum Pulido) this morning in Mendocino Superior Court.
Bean, 41, was accused of a violation of California Vehicular Code 20001(a), felony leaving the scene an accident causing death; Santos is accused felony accessory after the fact for harboring or concealing Bean, a violation of California Penal Code Section 32. A confirmation hearing will occur on Jan. 9, and preliminary hearing will be held on Jan. 14.
On the night of July 17 Calum Hunnicutt, 21 of Mendocino, was skateboarding west on Little Lake Rd. near the Town of Mendocino. He was struck by a vehicle while crossing the intersection with SR-1, and died at the scene. The driver of that vehicle, which the D.A. alleges was Bean, then fled the scene. Afterwards there was an outpouring of grief from the community for the loss of the popular young man, followed by anger due to a perception that investigators were moving slowly in bringing charges against Bean, whom was widely suspected in the community of having been the driver. For their part investigators with the CHP explained that they needed to be careful and deliberate in their investigation.
Bean was represented in court today by Mark Kalina while Santos was represented by the public defender’s office, Jan Cole Wilson was present for the public defender. District Attorney David Eyster was in court to prosecute, and there was some back and forth between Kalina and Eyster concerning the date of the preliminary hearing, with Kalina mentioning that his office had retained an “accident reconstruction expert,” who would need at least 45 days to examine the vehicle and present findings.
About eight people, friends and family of the deceased, were at the arraignment this morning to witness the plea. Lola Hidalgo, Hunnicutt’s aunt, expressed frustration with the entire process, saying, “I just feel like it’s — you killed a person and you’re out on bail, I don’t get that. It’s frustrating — it’s hard to see justice when she’s out on bail.”
In a brief statement, backed by her lawyer, Mark Kalina, Bean said, “I’m deeply sorry that this has all happened and it’s a very unfortunate incident. And I would offer family and friends my condolences.”
The criminal complain made by District Attorney David Eyster to the court accuses that Bean, “…did willfully, unlawfully, and knowingly, being a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in death to a person other than herself, fail, refuse, and neglect to give to the injured person and to a traffic and police officer at the scene of the accident her name and address…to render reasonable assistance to the injured person; and perform the duties specified in Vehicle Code Sections 23002 and 20004.”
An earlier statement made by the California Highway Patrol, which conducted the investigation into Hunnicutt’s death, stated that they had submitted the charges of vehicular manslaughter (P.C. 192) and the felony fleeing the scene for which she is actually being prosecuted. However, the ultimate decision of crime to charge and prosecute a defendant with lies with the district attorney.