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California Woman Kills Man By Driving Into Oncoming Traffic In Suicide Attempt.

A Northern California woman has pleaded not guilty to a second-degree murder charge Friday after she was involved in a head-on highway crash that killed a man. The woman intentionally drove in the wrong way because she was allegedly trying to attempt suicide, reports said.

Grace Elizabeth Ward's attorney entered the plea to the second-degree murder on her behalf as Ward sat in a wheelchair Friday in Shasta County Superior Court. She was arrested Tuesday after her release from the hospital and remains jailed on a $1.5 million bail.

The 28-year-old Ward told the California Highway Patrol that she was reportedly trying to kill herself when she crossed into oncoming traffic on Interstate 5 on Jan. 7.

Ward, 28, suffered a broken leg in the accident that killed Ryan Folsom, who attended medical school in San Antonio, Texas, and was also a former football player at Brigham Young University. Folsom was headed to a Sacramento hospital to interview for a residency.

On Jan.7 when the incident took place, Ward was driving north on the freeway in Redding when she reportedly crossed into oncoming traffic in an alleged attempt to kill herself by running into other cars, Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said. Ward struck Folsom's car after three vehicles swerved out of the way.

"She intentionally was driving and swerving towards them," Bridgett ( said during an arraignment hearing Friday.

The district attorney added that Ward made a "selfish" decision during the incident that met the legal requirements of second-degree murder.

"She made a choice, a purposeful choice to use her vehicle and driving in a fashion that was reckless and dangerous with a complete disregard for other lives," Bridgett said.

A public defender was expected to be appointed for her case at her scheduled arraignment Friday, Bridgett mentioned.

Folsom, 29, who was killed in the incident, was a running back at BYU in Utah, where he studied neuroscience and attended the University of Texas medical school in San Antonio.

Ward was ( alleged to have unsuccessfully tried to cross the center median on Interstate 5, where she reportedly collided with the cable barrier. She was able to get her car through the cable by finding an opening actually meant for emergency vehicles.

Ward was then said to have stopped her car, facing in a south-westerly direction between the northbound and southbound lanes on the freeway. Officials stated that she reportedly waited in that area for around seven minutes before she finally accelerated her vehicle into the oncoming traffic.

A witness at the scene told ( ABC affiliate KDRV  that she tried to save Folsom's life.

She said she felt for his pulse, which was there, but he was unable to speak.

"It was really faint but it was there," she said of his pulse. "We were just talking to him telling him help was on the way, we're here, you are not by yourself. we got no response it was just nothing."

Folsom's widow is pregnant with their third child. A ( GoFundMe page had been set up, which raised more than $300,000 for the family.

In addition to the second-degree murder charge, Ward was also charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly trying to strike the other three cars, Bridgett added.

She was also charged with felony vandalism for damaging a median strip while attempting to cross into oncoming traffic. If convicted, Ward could face life imprisonment.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Feb 3, 2018
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