Driver charged with vehicular manslaughter after women dies in crash on Highway 49 in Grass Valley |

Driver charged with vehicular manslaughter after women dies in crash on Highway 49 in Grass Valley

A man was charged with vehicular manslaughter after a fatal crash around 9 p.m., Thursday on Highway 49 near Alta Sierra Drive. The car, a 2006 two-door silver Honda Civic, was heading north bound on Highway 49 before skidding off the road and striking a tree.

There were two people in the car.

“The driver sustained minor injuries from the collision,” said Chris West, California Highway Patrol Officer for Grass Valley.

The front passenger, a 38-year-old female, however, was fatally injured. She was not wearing a seat belt, according to West. The woman was believed to be deceased at the scene, according to the CHP.

The vehicle was traveling extremely fast, and the driver was determined to be grossly negligent as determined by “the length of the skid marks on the road,” said West. There were no witnesses, Michael Steele, Grass Valley California Highway Patrol Officer, said in an email to The Union, and “there were no indications drugs or alcohol were at factor.”

The driver, Joaquin Lopez Pinto, 28, was first treated for injuries from the hospital and, upon discharge, was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter. Pinto was booked and processed at the Nevada County Jail. His bail was set at $52,000 and he is in custody as of Friday.

Pinto did not have a registered driver’s license. Police identified the man via a representative from his native country, said West.

There was a closure of the right lane northbound on Highway 49 south of Lime Kiln Road Thursday from 10 p.m. to 12:10 a.m., said Steele. The multiple lanes on Highway 49 allowed free flowing traffic after the accident occurred, said West.

Contact Sam Corey at (530) 477-4219 or at

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