Alleged DUI Driver Pleads Not Guilty to Murder in Crash Into Apartment

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

An alleged drunken driver who crashed into Palmdale apartment, killing a 16-year-old girl, pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges Tuesday.


Roberto Rodriguez, 20, was booked for DUI and vehicular manslaughter on April 20, 2014. (Credit: LASD)

Roberto Rodriguez, 20, was charged with murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage causing injury, and driving with a .08 percent blood alcohol content causing injury, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

On the morning of April 20, Rodriguez allegedly crashed a Nissan Pathfinder an apartment complex near Avenue R and 10th Street in Palmdale.

The car entered a bedroom where Giselle Mendoza was sleeping, killing her. The crash occurred just before 4 a.m. on Easter Sunday.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies who responded to the scene said that neighbors restrained Rodriguez until law enforcement arrived at the scene. One witness said he appeared “emotionless.”

Rodriguez faces 15 years to life in state prison if convicted on all counts.

His bail was set at $1.03 million pending a bail review hearing on May 23.

Friends, Relatives Remember 16-Year-Old Palmdale Girl Killed by Suspected DUI Driver

A memorial was erected to honor Giselle Mendoza on Monday, April 21, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)