PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) – A 23-year-old woman accused of hitting and killing two people near an East Peoria bar last month has pleaded not guilty.
Stephanie Melgoza faces charges including aggravated DUI, aggravated reckless driving, unlawful possession of cannabis, and failure to reduce speed.
The charges are connected to an April 10 incident near Throttle Bar and Grill, which resulted in the death of Andrea Rosewicz, 43, of Avon, Ohio, and 55-year-old Paul Prowant of Seattle, Washington.
Following her arraignment, Melgoza’s attorney Kevin Sullivan said he believed his client has been wrongly vilified by students at Bradley University.
Melgoza attended Bradley and last month some students protested her participation in graduation ceremonies.
“This case started by way of an accident. This was simply an accident. A tragic accident. There was no malice, there was no intent, there was no forethought. It was just a tragic accident with terrible consequences,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan also took issue with body cam footage that was released which showed Melgoza’s interactions with police.
“She is entitled to a fair trial. She enjoys the presumption of being innocent, and to taint the jury pool by having these body cams not just released, but repeatedly published, I think has been reprehensible. It’s been irresponsible. I think it’s a breach of ethics to have that happen,” Sullivan said.
Melgoza will be back in court on the morning of July 14 for a status hearing.