A Pleasanton woman accused of being intoxicated while causing the Interstate 680 crash that killed a 3-year-old boy in San Ramon last week was arrested roughly three months earlier in her hometown after police alleged she drove while under the influence with her young daughter in the car, authorities confirmed Tuesday.
Yarenit Liliana Malihan, 39, was released on bail Saturday after being booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on Friday on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter and felony DUI stemming from the freeway crash earlier that evening that killed toddler Elijah Dunn.
The California Highway Patrol said the incident occurred around 6:20 p.m. Friday on northbound I-680 near Bollinger Canyon Road when Malihan's Toyota Sequoia slammed into the back of a black Toyota Camry parked in the shoulder and occupied by Dunn, his mother, his 11-year-old brother and 1-year-old sister.
Malihan was treated for minor injuries at San Ramon Regional Medical Center and then arrested by CHP officers and booked into jail following a drug recognition test, according to the CHP.
The Alameda County Sheriff's Office revealed over the weekend that Malihan's husband works as a sheriff's deputy in the department but declined to release the deputy's name.
A Pleasanton police spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Malihan had been arrested in June for allegedly driving under the influence with her 10-year-old daughter in the car.
Malihan faces misdemeanor counts stemming from the June arrest, with her next court appearance set for early October, according to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.
According to Pleasanton police Sgt. Larry Cox, Malihan was contacted by police around 7:50 p.m. June 7 on Mission Drive in Pleasanton after police dispatch received a call from a resident who claimed they had spoken to Malihan that evening and believed she was driving while under the influence.
Officers responded to Malihan's home that evening and first made contact with her there, according to Cox, who alleged that based on her appearing to be intoxicated and other investigation, officers determined she had driven with her daughter earlier in the evening while under the influence.
She was arrested, received a blood test and was booked into the Santa Rita Jail for the June 7 incident, Cox said. Prosecutors filed misdemeanor charges of DUI and child endangerment against Malihan in late July.
The misdemeanor criminal case remains active, and the first court appearance in the case was Aug. 31, according to the Alameda County DA's Office. It was not immediately clear whether Malihan had yet entered a plea to those charges.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the fatal San Ramon crash is still pending. The Contra Costa County DA's Office said it hadn't yet filed charges in the case because prosecutors haven't received the investigative reports from the CHP as of Tuesday afternoon.
In their full press release on the fatal crash, CHP officials stated Malihan does not have any prior DUI convictions and her driver's license was valid. The CHP statement did not mention Malihan's June arrest on DUI and child endangerment charges.
Investigators could not immediately tell how fast Malihan's SUV was traveling on I-680 when it crashed into the family's sedan, according to the CHP.
Three-year-old Dunn was airlifted from the scene to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland, where he succumbed to his injuries, according to the CHP.
His mother suffered major injuries and was taken by ambulance to John Muir Medical Center. His brother and sister were driven by ambulance to Children's Hospital Oakland with minor injuries.
CHP officials said it appeared everyone in the Camry was wearing seat belts and the small children were secured in child safety seats when the crash occurred.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Dunn's family with living expenses, loss of income and the financial burdens of Dunn's death. The fundraising effort, which can be found at www.gofundme.com/elijah-dunn, had generated just under $63,000 as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Editor's note: Information from the Bay City News Service was used in this report.