HOLLAND — A Holland mother charged with operating while intoxicated and causing the crash that killed her three children appeared in court Friday and won a reduction in her bond.
Leticia Marie Gonzales, 30, was scheduled for a preliminary examination, a hearing during which the prosecutor in the case calls witnesses and a judge determines if there is enough evidence for the charges filed for the case to continue.
However, lawyers for Gonzales and the Ottawa County Prosecutor's Office agreed to delay the hearing by 60 days to provide both sides with more time to build their case.
Prosecutors assert Gonzales had abused the prescription drug methadone, used to treat opioid addiction, taking a prescribed dose at a clinic that day but later taking a second unprescribed dose she obtained from another source hours before the crash, which occurred Feb. 17, 2022.
Gonzales, driving with three children under the age of 5 in the vehicle, was headed westbound on James Street and drifted across the center lane and onto the wrong side of the road before hitting the curb and rolling the vehicle into a ditch filled with icy water. The three children perished after being submerged under water for 10-17 minutes.
A five-month investigation by Ottawa County Sheriff's Office detectives led to the charges and arrest.
The defense team assigned to Gonzales from the Ottawa County Public Defender's Office may choose to challenge the drug recognition expert the prosecutor's office intends to use at the preliminary hearing, according to discussions before the judge in court Friday.
Judge Bradley Knoll also agreed to reduce Gonzales' bond from $250,000 to a $100,000, 10-percent cash bond after a plea from her defense attorney about Gonzales's poor physical and mental health conditions. Gonzales would have to post $10,000 to be released from jail.
If released, Gonzales, who is suffering from kidney and heart failure, according to her attorney, would be subject to strict conditions imposed by Knoll. She would have to wear a GPS tether, she would not be permitted to travel outside of a 10-mile radius of the home, she would not be allowed contact with her other children, she would not be permitted to use methadone or any illegal substance and she would not be allowed to drive a vehicle.
Gonzales is charged with three counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death. The charges against Gonzales are felonies, and carry a prison sentence up to 15 years.
This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Holland mom charged in triple-fatal crash gets bond reduced