Woman accused of killing man in downtown L.A. hit-and-run pleads not guilty to manslaughter

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A woman accused of killing a man in a hit-and-run crash in downtown Los Angeles has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Maria Perez, 59, entered the plea Tuesday for charges including felony hit-and-run driving resulting in death, in addition to a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, according to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office.

The Bell Gardens woman allegedly struck and killed Byern Smith, 51, as he walked near 7th and Lawrence streets on May 7, according to prosecutors.

If convicted, Perez faces up to five years in custody, according to the DA’s office.

Her bail has been set at $80,000, and she is scheduled to return to court on June 2.

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