SACRAMENTO – The lawyer for the teenage girl accused of deliberately mowing down a boy in a fit of road rage said it was all an accident.
Attorney Todd Leras offered a different account from what witnesses and California Highway Patrol have said. They say Isabelle Salgado purposely ran over the 13-year-old boy after he and another boy threw a bottle at her Mercedes SUV on Sunday.
"There's been an effort to smear her and try this case in the press," Leras said.
Leras said she wasn't chasing them out of road rage, but to find out who was throwing something at her vehicle.
"In an effort to find out who they were and where they were going, she did go after where they fled," Leras explained.
Witnesses claim the boy was yelling for her to stop after she started chasing him. Leras said that's wrong.
"That's incorrect," Leras added. "It was Isabelle yelling stop because he had thrown the bottle unprovoked at the car."
Numerous witnesses and CHP investigators also describe Salgado as having a lack of remorse immediately after the incident.
"I asked her what she was thinking," Witness Jackie Manno said. "She was all, 'I don't know what I was thinking,' and she was like, 'I'm fully aware of what I've done.'"
Leras disputes those claims. He said she is very concerned about how the boy is doing.
"After the accident, she was holding the hand of the young boy and comforted him," Leras said.
The boy was treated at UC Davis for minor injuries, even though he was pinned underneath the SUV. Investigators said the SUV hit a tree and broke the SUV's front axle, which may have saved the boy's life.
Though Salgado was 17 at the time of the incident, she will be tried as an adult. She turned 18 on Wednesday, the same day she was released from jail. Leras accused the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office of rushing to judgement.
"The D.A.'s office in this particular instance should have been more cautious, more prudent and shouldn't have rushed to an adult charging decision," Leras said. "They're essentially coming out of the shoot full boar when the CHP hasn't even finished its investigation."
Salgado is to appear in court next month.