Thursday, June 17, 2021

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Woman sentenced for aiding hit and run driver

The woman accused of helping her brother flee Colusa County following a serious vehicle crash that injured a Princeton teenager has been convicted of a felony.

Veronica Zapien, of Princeton, pleaded no contest in Colusa County Superior Court, on Monday, to being an accessory after the fact with the knowledge that a felony had been committed.

The plea was part of a deal offered by the District Attorney’s Office, which dismissed a second felony charge of conspiracy to commit a crime.

Zapien, 30, admitted to helping her brother Raymond Michael Zapien, 31, also of Princeton, escape arrest following his May 31 vehicle collision, in which he was accused of driving into an ATV that was stalled on the side of the road, possibly to kill himself and passengers, authorities said.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Raymond Zapien was driving a 2014 Buick LaCross on Highway 45, with his girlfriend Skye Flores, 34, of Oroville, and her 15-year-old son.

The CHP said Raymond Zapien intentionally veered off the road and into the ATV during an argument with Flores.

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

The injured teen, Destiny Storm Sorrels, was airlifted to Enloe Hospital with serious neck and other injuries.

According to District Attorney Matthew Beauchamp, Veronica Zapien and Flores later met up with Raymond Zapien and helped him avoid arrest by driving him from Colusa County.
Colusa County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A. Thompson sentenced Veronica Zapien on Monday to 60 days in Colusa County Jail and probation, along with fines and penalties. She will be allowed to serve weekends to maintain her employment. She will report to jail on Friday, March 26.

Raymond Zapien is charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit a crime, child endangerment, leaving the scene of an injury accident, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (causing injury) along with three special enhancements that could extend any sentence he receives.

Flores is charged with conspiracy to commit a crime and child endangerment.
Both are scheduled to appear in court on April 12 to set a date for trial. They have both pleaded not guilty.

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