Trial date set for former ambulance driver accused in DUI killing

RIVERSIDE – A trial date is expected to be set today for a former ambulance driver who allegedly killed an 18-year-old college student while drunk and driving the wrong way on a four-lane road..

Elva Diaz, 32, could face 15 years to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter and driving with a suspended license in the Feb. 21, 2008, death of Rachel Amaris Elliott of Irvine.

Last week, during a hearing before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Robert Law, Deputy Public Defender Aimee Vierra argued for a dismissal of the murder count based on insufficient evidence, but Law denied the motion.

Diaz remains held in lieu of $5 million bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.

The Corona woman was a fugitive for more than a year, located by authorities last August in Santa Cruz De Camotian, near Guadalajara, Mexico.

According to prosecutors, Diaz was under the influence when her vehicle crashed head-on into Elliott’s car on Knabe Road in Corona.

District Attorney’s Office spokesman John Hall alleged the former ambulance driver and emergency medical technician had been drinking at a bar in the hours prior to the fatal collision and was told by her boyfriend and other patrons not to drive, which she disregarded.

The defendant traveled onto Knabe Road and headed south in the northbound lanes, speeding toward Claystone Avenue when her car slammed into Elliott’s, Hall said.

The young woman died hours later at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar.

Diaz posted a $75,000 bond after her arrest and jumped bail a year later — just as her trial was set to begin — fleeing south of the border.

Elliott’s family maintains a website dedicated to her at www.rachelelliott.org.

According to the young woman’s biography, she was studying to be a forensic technician. Ironically, she had been an active participant in her high school’s ”Every 15 Minutes” program, which emphasizes the dangers of drinking and driving.

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