Driver arrested for homicide in fatal crash

In East Palo Alto, 22-year-old passenger died after driver sped away from officers, police say

A 25-year-old East Palo Alto woman has been arrested for the death of her friend after a fatal car crash on Friday (June 17), an East Palo Alto police spokesman said.

Leylani Simmons, 25, was arrested Monday (June 20) on charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with gross negligence, driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in great bodily injury or death with a great bodily injury allegation and driving on a suspended license with a prior conviction, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

East Palo Alto officers saw a vehicle driving recklessly at Pulgas Avenue and Camellia Drive at around 10:30 p.m. Friday, according to Acting Capt. Jeff Liu. The DA's office said Simmons allegedly attempted to evade police at speeds between 60-80 mph.

She allegedly ran at least six stop signs, drove on the wrong side of the road twice, and overturned her vehicle after turning at Pulgas and East Bayshore Road, according to the DA's office.

A passenger, Lupe Veamatahau, 22, from East Palo Alto, was pinned between the vehicle and the asphalt and died at the scene, the DA's office said.

Simmons was ejected from the vehicle and hospitalized with serious, non-life-threatening injuries.

She was transported to Stanford Hospital. Upon arrest, Simmons was taken to San Mateo County Jail. She was booked on the charges and a no-bail warrant from Santa Clara County for reckless driving and defrauding an innkeeper. She was also booked on a $5,000 warrant for driving with a suspended license.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding the incident to call or text message police at 650-409-6792 or email to

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

— Bay City News Service

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Like this comment
Posted by Court Watcher
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 23, 2011 at 1:14 am

Part of this woman's sentence in the end proceedings should be to attend classes of others who are caught drinking and driving and tell the class of her remorse that she now is going to have to live with the rest of her life........
So sorry that another drinking death has occurred ~ my heartfelt sympathy to the families involved~

Like this comment
Posted by EPA resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2011 at 2:00 am

My heart felt sympathy to Lupes family. I can't imagine the pain you guys are going through and from the bottom of my heart I'm very sorry this happened to your daughter. I didn't know her but I know the driver! I feel sorry for her she has to live life knowing that because of her actions her friend is no longer with her family! What is she going to tell her children! So sad that this has happened!!! I still can't believe people are so stupid for driving under the influence and risking there and other peoples lives!! That's not a good parent!! Does she not care for her children that are probably wondering where she is or questioning why she hasn't been home and why they haven't seen her?? Wow I can't be like that I care for my children and I would never drink and drive but I guess we don't all think the same way and there are some moms that don't careless of there actions!!

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2011 at 5:38 am

Court records show that Simmons was arrested for drunken driving in East Palo Alto last October.

She pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge in February; a charge that her blood-alcohol level was above 0.15 was dropped as part of a deal with prosecutors.

She faces up to 10 years in state prison if convicted of vehicular manslaughter

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by halapio family
a resident of University South
on Feb 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm


Like this comment
Posted by halapio family
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 27, 2013 at 5:35 pm



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