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Arevalo, Dinara

Arevalo

Criminal proceedings for a Lompoc woman charged in connection to a fatal crash on Highway 1 in October will continue after two doctors found her mentally competent to stand trial. 

Dinara Arevalo, 25, is charged with the following: vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, felony evading an officer causing death and special allegations of infliction of great bodily injury.

The charges stem from a crash that occurred just after 5 p.m. Oct. 1. California Highway Patrol officers reportedly saw Arevalo driving erratically in her 2001 Toyota Rav4 on southbound Highway 1 and attempted to pull her over on southbound Highway 101 near Refugio State Beach. Arevalo refused to pull over, according to the CHP, and lost control of her vehicle as she attempted to pass slower-moving traffic on the right shoulder. Arevalo reportedly crashed into a 2018 Toyota Tacoma, driven by Brett Bronstad, 60 of Santa Barbara. Both vehicles overturned. 

Bronstad and his passenger, Michael Garcia, 58, were injured in the crash and taken to an area hospital. Garcia went into a coma and died Oct. 11, while Arevalo didn't sustain injures and was subsequently arrested. 

On Oct. 18, Arevalo's attorney entered not guilty pleas on behalf of her client, and declared doubt about her client's mental competency to stand trial. She also requested a medical evaluation for Arevalo. 

When doubt about the mental competency of a defendant is expressed, two psychologists are appointed who then evaluate the defendant. Depending on the results of the medical reports, a judge can either declare the defendant incompetent or competent to stand trial. 

On Tuesday morning, two doctors -- one chosen by the defense and the other by the prosecution -- submitted their findings to Judge Raimundo Montes de Oca. After reviewing the reports, Montes de Oca determined Arevalo was competent to stand trial. 

According to the prosecution, the defense's doctor initially found Arevalo incompetent but then found her competent following re-evaluation. 

Arevalo's case returns to Lompoc Superior Court on Dec. 18 to set a date for a preliminary hearing. 

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Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210

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