Woman Convicted of DUI Charged With Killing Pedestrian in Perris

A Riverside County sheriff's sergeant alleged the defendant was intoxicated.

A probationer accused of running over and killing a 53-year-old pedestrian while driving under the influence in Perris was charged Thursday with second-degree murder.

Lizbet Diaz, 27, of Riverside was arrested Saturday night after allegedly fatally injuring Rogelio Merlan of Moreno Valley.

Along with the murder count, Diaz is charged with probation violations. She's being held lieu of $1 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning and is slated to make her initial court appearance this afternoon at the Riverside Hall of Justice.

According to Riverside County sheriff's Sgt. Orlando Castaneda, Diaz was allegedly speeding eastbound in her sedan on San Jacinto Avenue about 7 p.m. Saturday, when she veered to the right, hitting two parked vehicles before plowing into Merlan, who was walking on the shoulder of the roadway, near Dunlap Drive.

Castaneda said the victim suffered catastrophic injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics less than 20 minutes later.

Diaz suffered a minor injury and was taken to Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley for treatment, after which she was booked into jail.

Castaneda alleged that investigators confirmed the defendant was intoxicated, though her blood alcohol reading was not disclosed.

According to court records, Diaz has a misdemeanor DUI conviction from last year that resulted in a sentence of 36 months probation, as well as compulsory attendance in a rehabilitation program that included classes stressing the dangers of drunken driving.

Under California law, a convicted DUI offender who is aware of the risks of drinking and driving and then causes someone's death because of it can be charged with murder.

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