An 85-year-old man accused of killing one pedestrian and injuring another while driving drunk in Palm Springs entered not guilty pleas Thursday to charges for which he must now stand trial.
Palm Springs resident Leroy Silva is accused in a DUI crash that killed Connie Clark of Lemon Grove in July 2019 as she and another woman, both 67, were crossing a street in Palm Springs.
Silva is charged with murder, DUI causing bodily injury, DUI causing bodily injury with a blood-alcohol level of more than .08% and two counts of hit-and-run resulting in death or injury.
Superior Court Judge Edward Forstenzer accepted Silva’s pleas and scheduled him a trial-readiness conference for Sept. 22.
Silva was ordered to stand trial last month after he waived his right to a preliminary hearing, a court hearing in which a judge typically hears evidence accumulated against a defendant, and ultimately decides whether prosecutors presented sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. Judge Harold Hopp then found sufficient cause to hold the defendant to answer on his charges.
Silva remains in custody at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside on $1 million bail.
The defendant was originally charged with two counts each of hit-and-run and driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Prosecutors later amended his charges to include murder on Aug. 9 after Clark died due injuries suffered in the crash.
According to prosecutors, Silva hit the women while driving a black sedan about 7:50 p.m. on July 27, 2019, while they were crossing Calle Encilia outside the Agua Caliente Casino in Palm Springs.
Silva was arrested about 40 minutes later roughly a mile from where the women were hit.
Both women were taken to a hospital. Clark died one week later.
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