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Hit-and-run driver pleads not guilty to attempted murder

The man accused of deliberately crashing into an ATV in Princeton and seriously injuring a teenage girl before injuring a Good Samaritan in a second collision on May 31, has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, felony assault, DUI, and other charges.

Raymond Michael Zapien, 31, of Princeton, and his girlfriend Skye Flores, 34, of Oroville, are also charged with conspiracy to commit a crime connected to Zapien’s near month on the run from law enforcement. Both are being held in the Colusa County Jail awaiting court proceedings, which are expected to resume with a preliminary hearing on Aug. 19.

Zapien’s sister, Veronica Zapien, 30, is also charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and accessory after the fact.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Flores and her 15-year-old son, Silas, were passengers in Zapien’s 2014 Buick LaCross, as he drove northbound on Highway 45 on May 31, when he allegedly veered off the road and struck a stalled ATV, driven by Destiny Sorrels, who was airlifted to Enloe Hospital with neck and other injuries.

The CHP said Zapien and Flores were involved in an argument prior to the ATV collision, and that the crash may have been Zapien’s attempt to kill himself, Flores, and her son.

Following the first crash with the ATV, Zapien attempted to drive away from the scene, when a separate vehicle, driven by Kyle Wills, pulled in front of the Buick to block Zapien’s escape.

Zapien crashed into Wills’ vehicle, disabling his own vehicle, and then fled the scene on foot, the CHP said.

According to District Attorney Matthew Beauchamp, Flores and Zapien’s sister later met up with Zapien and helped the suspected hit-and-run driver escape to avoid arrest by driving him from Colusa County.

Zapien was eventually arrested in Yuba City on June 24.

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