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Vehicular manslaughter suspects in court
Feb 17, 2010
By Dispatch Staff

Two Morgan Hill women facing misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges related to the deaths of two cyclists about a year apart will be in court Thursday.

Rita Campos, 61, is scheduled to appear at the South County Courthouse for a pre-trial conference. She is accused of causing the death of Gilroy cyclist Bruce Finch Oct. 8, 2008. Police said she was at fault when the 1997 Honda Accord she was driving collided with Finch at the intersection of Uvas and Little Uvas roads, killing the bicyclist almost instantly.

Campos has pleaded not guilty to the charge. The case is scheduled for a jury trial to begin March 22, according to Santa Clara District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Amy Cornell.

Also in court Thursday morning will be Sandra Arlia, 66, for a pre-trial conference. Arlia's charge of vehicular manslaughter is related to the death of Rory Tomasello, 22, which happened days after Arlia's Cadillac sport-utility vehicle collided with him on West Edmundson Avenue. Tomasello was riding his bicycle across the road, in a mid-block crosswalk, when he collided with Arlia's vehicle Oct. 23, 2009, according to police.

Tomasello was transported to the hospital with a complaint of injuries. He was pronounced brain dead at the hospital Nov. 2.

Arlia has also pleaded not guilty.

Both Arlia and Campos are accused of causing the deaths "without gross negligence," and face up to one year in Santa Clara County Jail if they are found guilty, Cornell said.