Bakersfield woman accused of killing siblings while driving intoxicated held to answer to all charges

·3 min read

Jun. 22—A Bakersfield woman charged with murder after prosecutors said she drove under the influence and killed two siblings was held to answer to all charges Wednesday by a Kern County Superior Court judge.

Lisa Core, 46, was ordered to stand trial on two counts each of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the deaths of JJ Malone, 19, and Caylee Brown, 9. She was also held to answer to a misdemeanor of driving with a suspended license and an infraction of failing to provide insurance proof at the accident's scene.

Malone had gone to pick up his sister, a student of Granite Pointe Elementary, at a bus stop on Panama Lane on the afternoon of Dec. 8 when they died, the family told The Californian previously.

Bakersfield Police Department Officer Zachary Burdick testified a witness told him a car traveling west crossed into eastbound lanes and up a sidewalk. A golden Buick LaCrosse struck two pedestrians and a fire hydrant, BPD Officer Terrance Lewis testified during questioning by Deputy District Attorney Cole McKnight.

Burdick said the Buick was traveling at 53 mph five seconds before the collision and 52 mph "just before the crash."

BPD Officer Johnny Moreno testified he saw Core in the passenger seat of the Buick and that she was being treated by medical personnel after the collision. Moreno added he saw several prescription pill bottles and pills scattered on the car's floor.

Moreno added Core's speech was thick and slurred, and she appeared uncoordinated.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Roxane Bukowski, Moreno testified it is common for people in accidents to be disoriented and in shock.

Ivette Ruvalcaba, a criminalist in the Kern Regional Crime Lab, testified Core's blood tested positive for amphetamines, methamphetamine, clonazepam and 7-amino clonazepam. Ruvalcaba said she found a concentration of greater than 1000 nanograms per milliliter of meth in the blood.

No standard concentration of meth is associated with impairment in all people because individuals react differently to the chemical, Ruvalcaba said.

Ruvalcaba added the measurement of meth was higher than her machine's capability of recording.

"It was above the limit at which I can record a numerical value," Ruvalcaba said.

Matthew Iturriria, an investigator with the Kern County District Attorney's office, said a Bakersfield Fire Department firefighter initially responded to the collision. The firefighter told Iturriria that Core had a "slow, lethargic" demeanor and a "slurred" speech pattern, Iturriria testified. Her pupils were two millimeters in diameter, which he said was abnormally small in the afternoon light.

Core told police she had taken her medication prior to driving because she felt anxious, according to BPD investigative reports filed in court.

"I think the medicine had me drowsy," Core told police, according to the reports. "I might have, like, nodded off or something because I'm a very good driver. I am always vigilant. I'm a very defensive driver."

Core is scheduled to appear for an arraignment July 13. She has pleaded no contest to two prior DUI charges.

You can reach Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow her at @_ishanidesai on Twitter.