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Woman Accused in Cyclist Fatality Headed to Trial

If convicted, Danae Marie Miller faces up to 10 years in prison.

The Newport Coast woman accused of driving drunk and causing the crash that killed cyclist will stand trial, the Orange County district attorney's office reported.

, 22, appeared at the Harbor Justice Center Thursday before Orange County Superior Court Judge Derek G. Johnson. Miller is charged with one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated and faces up to 10 years in prison. She remains out of jail on $100,000 bail, but will return to court on Dec. 12.

Prosecutors allege Miller was texting on her cell phone at the time of the Feb. 21  accident that killed 44-year-old Britel, also of Newport Coast, who was riding his bike on San Joaquin Hills Road near Spy Glass Hill Road. Miller is accused of driving her 2008 Volkswagen Jetta east on San Joaquin Hills Road, being distracted from repeatedly text-messaging on her cell phone, driving into the bicycle lane and striking Britel from behind. 

According to the district attorney's office, before the crash Miller drank alcohol at her place of employment, Zinc Cafe in Corona del Mar. Following the accident, authorities say, Miller showed signs of intoxication, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and odor of alcohol. Nearly two hours after the crash, the D.A.'s office says, Miller had a blood alcohol level of .10. The legal limit for drivers in California is .08. 

In an email to Newport Beach Patch.com, Mouna Britel, Amine's sister, said she isn't happy about how the case has transpired, but still hopes for justice.

"We are appalled about all of this," Mouna Britel said. "We don't understand why she hasn't been in jail since it happened."

Britel was a triathlete and local businessman. He enjoyed riding his bike along the hills of Newport Coast, running the sands of Crystal Cove and swimming in the ocean off Corona del Mar. A white bicycle marked the accident scene where Britel died from injuries he sustained during the collision. For months it served as a memorial to Britel and a reminder to motorists to be aware of the many cyclists who use the street.

Daniel Woolfolk December 02, 2011 at 10:01 PM
Unbelievable!
David Huntsman December 03, 2011 at 03:05 PM
The ghost bike has long since been removed.
Nisha Gutierrez-Jaime (Editor) December 03, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Thank you for the update David.
mdg December 03, 2011 at 07:09 PM
You forgot to mention: "...ticketed 16 times for alleged traffic violations, court records show." WHY WAS SHE ON THE ROAD??? SHE KILLED ANOTHER HUMAN BEING !!! DEEP FRY HER , HER PARENTS, AND THE JUDGE (dad's buddy???) that let her out on ???100K??? bail....
Amused December 05, 2011 at 05:22 PM
Thanks Nisha, we will be watching the outcome of this trial.
David Huntsman December 10, 2011 at 08:24 AM
Similar killing in Washington State: bail for driver set at $500,000.00 http://publicola.com/2011/12/09/bail-set-at-half-a-million-for-man-who-killed-cyclist/
David Huntsman February 27, 2012 at 08:36 PM
A lone bouquet of flowers sat on the curb of San Joaquin Hills Drive this past week, near where Mr Britel was killed a year ago.

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