North York woman charged in fatal crash is murder victim's daughter
A North York woman whose mother was murdered in York City 8½ years ago is now accused of causing a fatal crash in northern York County by falling asleep at the wheel.
Gladys Mendez, 21, of Latimer Street, is charged with homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, driving at an unsafe speed, reckless driving and not staying in her lane of travel.
She was arraigned Thursday morning by Dillsburg-area District Judge Richard Thomas and released on $25,000 unsecured bail.
State police allege Mendez was driving north on Old York Road in Warrington Township about 7:20 a.m. Oct. 11, 2015, when the Jeep she was driving crossed into the southbound lane.
The Jeep crashed into a Toyota Corolla driven by Samuel B. Myers, 56, of York City, charging documents state. He was wearing a seat belt but died of multiple injuries, according to the York County Coroner's Office.
The Jeep was almost entirely in the southbound berm when it struck the Corolla, which Myers had "aggressively" slowed to 6 to 14 mph when the crash happened, documents state.
Charging documents indicate Mendez apparently fell asleep while driving.
Fell asleep? Those documents allege she told a trooper, "I was getting drowsy so I turned the heat down and changed the music so it wasn't so mellow and sat up to be more alert."
A reconstruction of the crash determined Mendez was going 72 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to charging documents, which state, "The circumstances of the crash are consistent with a lack of cognition on the part of (Mendez)."
Mendez also was badly hurt in the crash, according to her defense attorney, Bill Graff.
He said her injuries included a broken leg and she still gets some physical therapy for the injuries.
Mendez's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Jan. 24, according to court records.
Graff said Mendez is employed and recently had a baby.
Lost her mom: Mendez was 12 years old on June 7, 2008, when her mother, Sally Estrada, was fatally stabbed and beaten to death by Estrada's estranged boyfriend, Eugene Hampton, in her York City home.
Hampton pleaded guilty in December 2009 to third-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison.
Mendez and her three younger brothers were home at the time and witnessed the attack. Estrada died in her daughter's arms, according to family members.
Estrada's four children moved in with one of their mother's sisters, and the close-knit Estrada family vowed to raise them together.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.