SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Bail for a Santa Ana man was set at $1 million Tuesday when he appeared in court to enter a plea to driving under the influence vehicular manslaughter charges stemming from the death of a 20-year-old nursing student who had stopped on a freeway to help a crash victim.
Takayuki Saito, 41, surrendered his Japanese passport in a Santa Ana courtroom after prosecutors argued he posed a flight risk.
Arraignment on two felony counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence causing bodily injury was postponed until Jan. 14. Saito also faces a sentencing enhancement for great bodily injury, according to Farrah Emami of the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
Kaydee Campbell, a nursing student at St. Francis University in Indiana who was home for Christmas break, was killed Sunday night when she was struck by a 1992 black Toyota 4-Runner driven by Saito near the Red Hill Avenue off-ramp of the northbound Santa Ana (5) Freeway in Tustin, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Campbell, the daughter of a fire captain and a resident of Trabuco Canyon, had stopped, along with her boyfriend, at the site of an accident and went to help, according to the CHP.
Saito's 4-Runner collided with the black BMW Campbell had been in, and it was propelled forward causing it to strike Campbell and a 16-year-old girl who had been involved in the previous crash. Campbell died at the scene, according to the CHP.
CHP Officer Jennifer Hink said that Campbell had gotten out of the BMW and "tried to render aid to the people in the Lexus when she was struck by somebody driving under the influence of alcohol."
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The Toyota was going 65 mph when it banged into the BMW. Campbell was killed instantly.
According to an Orange County Superior Court Web site, Saito has several previous citations, including one for evading police, but most were for such things as driving without lights in the dark and failure to obey traffic signs.
Deputy District Attorney Susan Price said Campbell "was trying to help people who had been involved in a crash."
"She was a nursing student, 20 years old, and she was trying to help a 16-year-old, and the defendant, because of his intoxication, was unable to stop, unable to respond, unable to react to what was happening in a way that you would expect ordinary drivers to be able to do," Price said.
Campbell attended Rancho Santa Margarita Catholic High School, as did her siblings.
Teacher Scott McIntosh said that Campbell's willingness to leave a car to help someone else "doesn't surprise me at all."
"That is exactly what she was," McIntosh said.
Richard Schaff, a school administrator said the family was one to give to others.
"It's not what the school could do for her, it was what she could do for the school," Schaff said. "And that's how the family looked at it too."
The 16-year-old girl suffered serious injuries and remains hospitalized.
Prosecutors said that when Saito was arrested, he asked if he could post bail and return to Japan, leading to their belief he is a flight risk.