Mom pleads not guilty in crash that killed 5-year-old


Arkita Myers pleaded not guilty to all of the counts against her. The 30-year-old mother from Pinole made her first appearance in court since being arrested for the traffic accident that killed her 5-year-old daughter, Xaniah.

"She's been charged with one count of vehicular manslaughter, another count of involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment with an enhancement for death or great bodily injury and four counts of child endangerment," Deputy District Attorney Dominique Yancey said.

Investigators say Xaniah died after she was ejected from the SUV her mother was driving. Xaniah, as well as two teenagers and a 7-year-old who were also inside the vehicle, were not wearing seatbelts when the SUV overturned. Prosecutors say Myers was driving without a license and speeding when she swerved to avoid a car in front of her.

Her family declined to speak on-camera, but off-camera said Myers thought the children were buckled up.

Myers is being held on $1 million bail. The judge denied releasing her on her own recognizance because of the threat she poses to public safety.

In a written statement, the public defender's office said, "We are dismayed a grieving mother is being prosecuted and kept in custody during this extremely tragic and difficult time.... Ms. Myers has no criminal history and is a hard-working, single mother who has done her best to care for all of her children."

If Myers is convicted on all counts, she faces over a decade of prison time.

The preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 8.

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