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Drivers accused of manslaughter in toddler’s vehicle death

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

December 6, 2006

Two drivers have been arrested in connection with the death of a 2-year-old girl during a late summer traffic accident.

Erica Parker, 27, turned herself in at the Hood River County Courthouse on Monday afternoon. She and Jose Baeza Coyote, 24, both reside in Parkdale. Each individual has been charged with second-degree Manslaughter, Criminally Negligent Homicide and DUII.

In addition, Baeza, the father of the victim and a surviving 3-year-old son, has been charged with Recklessly Endangering Another.

Deputy District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen declined to comment on the pending cases or the amount of alcohol consumed by the accused. The arrests followed an investigation into the fatality by the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police.

According to reports, Gladis Baeza died as a result of the collision. The wreck occurred at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 along Highway 281, about 16 miles south of Hood River.

Parker, behind the wheel of a 1978 Ford pickup, allegedly crossed the centerline of the southbound lane. She then reportedly hit the driver’s side of the 1991 Acura Integra being operated by Coyote. Also riding in his car was Maria Pisanos, 20, the mother of the children, and Juan Baeza, 3.

Although Gladis and Juan were both wearing seat belts at the time of the accident, an OSP spokesperson said they were not restrained in approved safety seats.

Following the wreck, Gladis was transported to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital where she died as a result of her injuries.

Juan and Pisanos were taken to the Hood River medical facility for treatment. Coyote was flown by emergency helicopter to Oregon Health and Science University due to the severity of his injuries.

Parker was first transported to Hood River and then taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland for treatment of serious injuries.

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