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Woman Charged With DUI Manslaughter Of UF Student Denied Bond

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The woman charged with DUI manslaughter of a University of Florida student will remain behind bars.

Damaris Guerrero Garcia (Photo courtesy of Marion County Jail)

Damaris Guerrero-Garcia, 23, had a hearing Wednesday in hope to reduce her $200,000 bond.

Guerrero-Garcia was charged with the DUI manslaughter of Karan Khullar, a 22-year-old UF computer science student, on Feb. 12. Khullar was waiting at a bus stop in front of the Campus Club Apartments on SW 37th Blvd. with two friends when Guerrero-Garcia left the road at the curve and struck Khullar and the other two students, according to a Gainesville Police Department statement.

Karan Khullar a 22-year-old UF computer science student, was killed on Feb. 12 after being struck by a drunk driver while waiting at a bus stop. (Photo courtesy of Khullar’s Facebook page)

Guerrero-Garcia then fled the scene and was later stopped in Marion County by Florida Highway Patrol. Her blood alcohol content was a .14, almost twice the legal limit, according to FHP’s investigation.

Guerrero-Garcia’s attorney, Craig DeThomasis, said that because of the high bond amount, she was essentially being offered no bond.

“The total amount of her salary over four years, as an active U.S. Marine, is less than the bond currently set,” DeThomasis said during the hearing. “I think [this] is an indication that the bond is tantamount to no bond and she’s being pre-trial detained.”

Mark Peterson of the state attorney’s office was opposed to any reduction in bond. He said he wants the bonds for the DUI manslaughter charge and leaving the scene of an incident involving death charge to be increased.

“We ask for the court to actually increase the bonds on the other remaining charges sighting concerns for her reappearing for future court appearances,” Peterson said. “If the bond were $150,000 based on the 2 charges filed, that may not even be enough to secure her appearance. That’s the major concern.”

DeThomasis told Judge James Colaw that in 28 years of him practicing law, he’s never had a client flee on him.

But it wasn’t enough reassurance for the judge.

“At this time, the underlying allegations certainly suggest that there is a significant risk or concern for the community based upon her behavior that’s alleged,” Colaw said. “I am going to, at this time, deny the motion for a bond reduction.”

(Left) Craig DeThomasis, Damaris Guerrero-Garcia’s defense attorney, talks to prosecutor Mark Peterson before Guerrero-Garcia’s March 22 bond hearing. (Grace King/WUFT News)

Guerrero-Garcia was charged with one count of DUI manslaughter, two counts of DUI damage to person/property, and one count of leaving the scene of an accident involving death.

“You have to expect the judge to make a fair judgment from his perspective and [take] everything into consideration,” DeThomasis told WUFT News following the hearing. “We’ve got potential remedies down the road, but at this stage were going to wait for our next court appearance to do so.”

Guerrero-Garcia’s next court appearance has not yet been scheduled.

About Ramsey Touchberry

Ramsey is a reporter for WUFT who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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