Highway 17 fatal drunk driving suspect appears in court

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The woman accused of causing a deadly wrong-way crash on Highway 17 over Mother Day's weekend made her first court appearance Wednesday.

The collision killed Armando Canales, a 17-year-old Fremont boy who had dreams of becoming a firefighter.

"I'm never going to be able to get that chance to be able to hug him, kiss him, say I love him, nothing," said Canales' brother, Jose Cacilhas, outside the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice following the suspect's arraignment.

Prosecutors say Ashley Marie Oliver was returning to San Jose from Santa Cruz after a night of drinking.

Investigators are still trying to determine how long she had been driving the wrong way on the highway early Saturday morning, when she crashed into a vehicle carrying Canales and four of his friends. They survived the collision, but suffered major injuries.

"I'm completely broken, he was my everything, and it's taken in a way, not only from me, from his friends, his family, everybody, it's just not me," said Canales' mother, Tina Cacilhas, who recalled the last words she heard from her son, just hours before the crash.

"Every day that he left the house, he would say, 'Mama, I love you,' and I'm thankful for that."

Oliver was brought via wheelchair into court. The 28-year-old San Jose resident showed little emotion as a public defender spoke on her behalf. Oliver's bail was set at $450,000.

"This is every mother's worst nightmare," said Deputy District Attorney Heather Melton. "There's absolutely nothing we can do to bring her son back to her, but the DA's office will work tirelessly to bring justice to her, her family, and the community."

Oliver has been charged with multiple counts, including gross vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI. She is expected to return to court on May 23.
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